Last week saw AWR appear in the FT for a second time in as many weeks as law firm Eversheds published the findings of a survey it had commissioned. The headline figure does seem a bit strange to all of us here at Parasol Group though.
First off let’s look at the easier analysis. The study found that almost one in five (17%) employers have opted for a regulation 10 contract for their agency workers as a way of mitigating some of the responsibilities under AWR. Taking a straw poll amongst our Field Sales team would back this up, albeit anecdotally.
Secondly, the survey also found that while AWR had increased employers’ costs, almost two-thirds (65%) had seen a rise of between zero and 10%. More than one in five (22%) reported a cost increase of between 11 and 25%, while “a small minority” of 3% of organisations saw costs rise by between 25 and 50%. 10% said they didn’t know the impact on their hiring costs.
Again, if you speak to our team in the field, and from the conversations we have with staffing businesses and their clients, this rings true. Nobody was under any doubt that the introduction of AWR would lead to an increase in the cost of employing a temporary worker and our industry has worked hard to ensure these costs were kept to a minimum for everyone in the supply chain.
So, on both the main points of the report it’s hard to disagree.
However, the FT’s headline read; ‘Employer’s dodging temp pay rules” and its opening line claimed that; “almost two-thirds of employers are exploiting loopholes to escape the worst impact of new rules giving temporary workers equal pay with permanent staff….”
Last week we covered in some detail why the phrase ‘loophole’ is wrong in so many ways and you can read that here.
But two-thirds? Really?
This is quite an accusation to make, especially when the sample size of the survey is just 143 companies and organisations such as the TUC, which has promised to complain to the European Commission about Britain’s introduction of AWR, are looking for campaign angles. There doesn’t seem to be any explanation of how this figure was arrived at which doesn’t help either.
We’ve seen surveys from industry bodies and service providers on a regular basis lately, and all have their own agenda at heart. There is still no commitment other than to a ‘paper review’ in October from DBIS but what our industry really needs now is a detailed, impartial analysis into AWR which looks at more than 143 businesses and drills down into the size of companies affected, their industrial sector, the size of their temp workforce, the region they are operating in, the breakdown of skills amongst their temporary workers, and so on.
This is the only way to see the full impact of AWR and the only way to make intelligent decisions as to how we all move forward without the politicking and clamour for publicity.
If you were in charge of the research project what questions would you be asking?