Following last month’s publication of the Agency Worker’s Directive (AWD) regulations, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)  has been in discussions with the Department for Business (BIS) on next steps and areas of ongoing concern for the industry.

The REC has subsequently received confirmation from Pat McFadden MP, Minister for Business Innovation and Skills that the industry will play a central role in developing practical implementation tools.  

In a letter to REC Chief Executive Kevin Green, the Minister thanked the REC for its ‘valuable and constructive engagement’ and confirmed the Government’s commitment to working with the REC on the ‘implementation of the Regulations, especially on the development of guidance and on ways of generally  minimising administrative burdens’.  

The REC has identified a ‘top five’ list of issues requiring clarification and further debate. In his letter, the Minister specifically referred to two of the big issues for recruiters, namely, the exclusion for genuinely self-employed workers and the specific bonuses that may need to be extended to temporary staff.

Commenting on the next steps, Tom Hadley, the REC Director of External Relations, says: 

“Our immediate priority is to work with Government on the official guidance document that will underpin the regulations. Getting this right will lift some of the fog over how equal treatment will work in practice.

As we move from a ‘lobbying phase’ to an ‘implementation phase’ our other priority will be to ensure that recruiters have the practical support and briefings they need to engage with their clients and start preparing for the changes.

Based on the feedback from recruiters and employers, the REC’s ‘top five’ list of issues requiring clarification and further debate includes:

1.  Measures for excluding self-employed workers – The principle is sound, but the final wording has led to some confusion. Practical guidance on the criteria for establishing genuine self-employed status is needed. 

 2.  Bonus payments – Some bonuses may need to be extended to temporary staff, an exhaustive list of what is covered would help employers and agencies. 

3.  Legitimate means of derogating from the principle of equal treatment – How might the so-called Swedish derogation (where the agency essentially employs the temps and pays them between assignments) work in practice. 

4.  Practicalities linked to the 12 week derogation -  How can we  limit the administrative burden in the case of regular short-term assignments that could result in equal treatment measures with several end users at the same time.     

5. Creating an effective red-tape ‘filter’ – The implementation process must include filtering out as much unnecessary bureaucracy as possible.  Agencies and their clients will want to comply but we must not create a barrier for dynamic flexible resourcing.  

For more information on the REC’s AWD campaign go to: