The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) is urging the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, to exclude highly-paid and highly- skilled temporary workers from a forthcoming law that gives agency workers the same rights as permanent employees.
The body, which was created on 1 January, and whose members have a total turnover of £6 billion, has written to Mandelson to explain that such an exclusion from the Temporary Agency Workers Directive (TAWD) is vital to maintain the flexibility and competitiveness of the UK labour market.
APSCo says there ‘is a clear need to differentiate between highly-skilled, highly-paid professional contractors and freelancers and low-paid, low-skilled agency workers, for whose protection the Directive was originally designed'.
‘Furthermore, we are alarmed that the Government's intended implementation date could greatly increase the burden of regulation upon businesses in the high end recruitment sector during a time of such economic difficulty.'
Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo, said: "There is a world of difference between the contractors APSCo members place and the kind of ‘vulnerable' workers this legislation is designed to protect."
The TAWD entitles agency workers who have worked on assignment with the same end user for at least 12 weeks to at least ‘equal treatment' as permanent workers. This ‘equal treatment' will include equal pay, and is likely to encompass basic working conditions, such as access to training, amenities, notice of termination and so on.
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