By Daniel Hunter

More than three quarters of employers say that the Agency Workers Regulations have had no effect since their introduction six months ago, according to new research from leading recruiter Adecco.

78% of UK businesses have not experienced any discernible effect since AWR were introduced on 1st October last year, despite research before the launch saying that 55% were concerned that the directive would have a dramatic impact on the number of temporary workers they could hire. Just 16% of all companies surveyed say the introduction of AWR has impacted on their plans for the year.

The Agency Worker Regulations mean that all organisations hiring agency workers for assignments of 12 weeks or more will be required to offer these workers terms and conditions relating to some aspects of pay, hours of work and holidays that are no less favourable than those they would have offered if the worker had been hired directly by the company.

Many businesses were concerned that the introduction of the legislation could have a deeply negative impact on hiring, but the research shows that those fears seem to have been unfounded.

“While many predicted that businesses would drastically cut back their use of temporary workers as a result of AWR, our results have found that companies have in fact handled its introduction very well," Steven Kirkpatrick, Managing Director of Adecco, said.

"The crucial thing is for businesses to make sure that they really understand the legislation and don’t rush into any decisions which could lead to them struggling without essential workforce support.”

Of the 16% of companies which did feel AWR had had some impact, half (52%) are still in the process of assessing how they could reduce their reliance of agencies , and a third (30%) felt that it was still too early to make any firm decisions on how to best manage hiring. Less than a fifth of those affected (17%) had actually taken action to cut back agency hiring.

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