When the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) came into force on the 1 October 2011, there was much talk about the ways an employer might try to avoid the extra obligations placed on them.

Recently released figures seemed to have proved those thought wrong.

The AWR means that having completed a 12 week 'qualifying period' agency workers would be afforded many of the same rights as permanent workers. Clearly this would increase costs for employers and place more responsibilities on HR teams. It was thought therefore that many of these workers would be released in their eleventh week to avoid these difficulties. However, figures from Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) have proven otherwise. In fact HR people and employers alike seem to feel the same way about this possible avoidance method; basically that it would lead to a lot more work and it is just bad HR practice to be employing people and re-recruiting before they reach 12 weeks. One reason alone would be the constant need to retrain staff.

Employers may have found a better way to keep costs down when employing agency workers, this method has become known as the 'Swedish Derogation'. It makes the worker an employee of the agency rather than the company itself. That way the costs are still averted and any litigation will be against the agency rather than the company. It's a good solution for companies so long as they thoroughly check the contracts. When using this method some companies may look to make arrangements with agencies to share the costs involved in paying temporary workers in between assignments. This is one of outcomes of the model, the fact that a closer relationship will have to be struck up between the client and the agency in order to effectively manage the workers to their advantage.

Agency workers can agree to be paid up to 50% of their normal employment salary for up to 4 weeks in between jobs. In order to be able to make this payment should a worker not be in continuous employment the agency has to pay the worker less than their full salary and save this should they need it for in between assignments at a later date. Later on, if the worker never has any use for this sum then they will get it paid back to them. It seems unlikely, however that agency workers will be a fan of this given that they are effectively giving up the right to earn more money since by signing an agreement to be be paid in between contracts they give up their right to equal pay amongst other benefits that could have been had.

In today's economic climate it seems an unfortunate consequence that many will nonetheless feel forced to enter into such an arrangement as the only means of getting work at this time. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has provided guidance on the AWR for anyone who wishes to read up further on the impacts of the new legislation.

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