It was interesting to see two press releases issued last week from both sides of the agency worker fence. On the same day, the Professional Contractors’ Group (PCG) and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) both issued survey findings that would suggest the introduction of AWR to the UK has been something of a non-event.
In its JobsOutlook survey, REC found that, in the next 3 months, 34% of the firms surveyed planned on employing more agency workers with only 21% looking to decrease the number of agency workers they engage with. This latter figure dropped to 16% for the next 12 months.
The PCG study revealed that 77% of respondents to their survey had not been affected by AWR in the slightest. Of those who had been affected, 16.3% have been affected ‘a little’ and 6.7% affected ‘a lot’.
The PCG credits this to the education campaigns organisations such as themselves conducted in the run up to AWR. They put it down to the fact that agencies and freelancers have kept themselves informed on all things AWR and are aware that the new rules largely didn’t apply to them if they are in business on their own account.
While this is true to some extent, it is perhaps a too simplistic point of view and now is not the time for us all to take our eye off the AWR ball.
It’s just over 4 months since the first qualifying period for equal pay and conditions for agency workers came to a close. Service providers, such as Parasol Group and their ‘best advice’ approach to the regulations can also take some of the credit for a smooth introduction, and the subsequent management of the regulations, and will continue to work with staffing businesses and the workers they place to ensure compliance with AWR. But we are seeing some interesting staffing decisions from the end-users of agency workers, such as the local Council we reported on last week which has made the decision to make 150 agency staff direct employees. The long term implications of AWR and the UK’s response to it are yet to be revealed so now is not the time for complacency.
What has been your experience of AWR so far? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.