ARC challenges Agency Workers Directive

The Agency Workers Directive should be dropped in favour of a new two-tier system which would allow ‘vulnerable’ agency workers to retain their rights after 12 weeks, according to the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC).

The Directive, which proposes to increase pay and benefits rights of agency workers after 12 weeks of working in the same job, should provide a much longer period for workers who would not be considered ‘vulnerable’, says the ARC.

Workers that earn higher salaries, such as in IT, financial management, legal work and would not need the protection of the 12-week period, claims the ARC.

The ARC’s proposal has won the backing of the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Adrian Marlowe, chairman of ARC, says: “The purpose of the Agency Worker’s Directive is quite rightly to provide proper protection to those agency workers that are seen as ‘vulnerable’. Unfortunately, the agreement does not distinguish between ‘vulnerable’ and other workers, with the result that equal rights will apply to all after 12 weeks have passed.

“If the country is to keep ahead of its competitors and encourage hirers to use temporary staff, we must protect the recruitment supply industry from unnecessary damage and help preserve flexibility in the economy.”