By Max Clarke

With less than a week to go until the changes outlined in the new Agency Workers’ Regulations (AWR) come into effect, Acas is alerting bosses to the fact that they could face a fine up to £5,000 from an Employment Tribunal if they break the new law. The fine would be multiplied by each temp they wronged.

The shake-up gives temps the same basic rights on pay, working conditions and holidays as employees. Temps rely on recruitment agencies to recommend them to employers, so the new law affects them, too. Recruitment agencies estimate there are around 1.4million temps in the UK, four per cent of the nation’s workforce.

An important feature of the law, called the Agency Workers Regulations, is that it only comes into play after a temp has been used by an employer in the same role for 12 weeks.

A recent study for the job agencies’ trade body, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, revealed that nationally only one in ten employers was prepared for the law.

John Taylor, Acas Chief Executive, warned: “Businesses really need to make sure that they have a handle on these changes. It’s not something to think about down the line and get it wrong, as it can be costly to your business.

“Some employers may try to get round the regulations by hiring and rehiring temps on a succession of shorter periods. But they need to be careful of the many provisos within the new law. We would always urge employers to take a fair approach as the basis for any workplace relations.”

More details on the new law are on the Acas website


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