Government Consultation on Changes to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business regulations 2003

The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (the “BERR”) has launched a consultation on changes to the conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (the “Regulations”).

The Regulations govern the conduct of the private recruitment industry and set minimum standards for employment agencies and employment businesses operating from premises in Great Britain. The Regulations are designed to protect both workers and hirers.

The BERR will be gathering information and views from those that may be affected by the proposed amendments to the Regulations, with the following objectives in mind:

Ensuring that the most vulnerable agency workers are sufficiently protected

This will involve, in particular, examination of the following areas:
The abuse of upfront fees in the entertainment or modelling sectors; and
Temporary workers employed by umbrella companies in order to allow an opt-out of the protection afforded by the Regulations.

Clarifying the lines of responsibilities between agencies and hirers and reducing regulatory burdens

Specifically, the BERR will be seeking opinions on:
The merits of suitability checks for permanent recruitment;
Requirements to agree terms with work-seekers and hirers; and
Requirements when placing advertisements.

The BERR wants to encourage innovation and the development of new services in an attempt to make the recruitment process more open and more efficient, and reduce burdens on businesses, whilst as the same time ensure that both workers and hirers are sufficiently protected.

The closing date for the consultation will be 11th June 2009. Therefore, the earliest date for any amended Regulations to come into force is likely to be April 2010.