Many employers are confused about the implications of the forthcoming Agency Workers Regulations (AWR), according to research by Adecco.
The survey of nearly 500 HR professionals found that respondents were particularly unclear about the impact of temporary workers’ benefits, including holidays and bonus eligibility.
Employers are also unclear who is ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with the new rules, which come into effect on 1 October.
Over half (55%) wrongly think that the regulations entitle temporary workers to exactly the same benefits as permanent staff, and almost a quarter mistakenly believe that they will accrue all the same employment rights from day one.
Nearly a third are under the impression that agency workers will be entitled to the same bonus arrangements.
More than a quarter (26%) incorrectly believe that the responsibility for ensuring adherence to the new rules lies solely with the temporary staffing agency that provides the workers, whereas in fact the duty is shared.
Steven Kirkpatrick, managing director of Adecco General Staffing, stressed that from day one, agency workers will be entitled to equal access to collective facilities and amenities, which employers might subsidise and would normally reserve for permanent staff, such as car parking, canteen or childcare.
He said: “Some employers may think that because workers only become eligible for certain entitlements after a 12-week qualifying period, they have still got quite a lot of time to sort out what they need to do before the new rules really hit home, but in fact this is not the case.
“For those organisations that rely on the flexibility of agency workers, they need to be taking steps to prepare now to ensure that they are compliant from day one.
“Even for those elements which apply after the 12-week qualifying period, it will still take time to ensure that the necessary processes, such as tracking and monitoring systems, are in place and working properly.”
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