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No ‘early’ introduction for temporary workers’ regulations

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The Prime Minister has indicated that new rules affecting the employment rights of temporary workers will be included in the new legislative programme for the next parliamentary session.

Gordon Brown made the announcement in his speech to the TUC conference.

Under the Directive’s terms, temporary staff will be entitled to equal treatment with permanent staff on pay, holidays and hours after 12 weeks on an assignment.

Business groups have been lobbying for the Directive to be implemented at as late a date as possible so that employers have the opportunity to recover from the recession before the rules take effect.

Mr Brown’s announcement means that the Directive cannot be implemented as soon as April 2010.

Kevin Green, the chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), said: “Last week, the REC’s Report on Jobs showed that temporary and permanent placements were beginning to rise after nearly 18 months of decline. The availability of a flexible labour force will be key for struggling businesses climbing out of a recession.

“Any early implementation of the Directive could kill off these green shoots. The REC will continue to lobby strongly on the delay of the implementation of this Directive at the end of 2011.”

Tom Hadley, the REC’s director of external relations, insisted that the government’s timing plans on the Directive had not shifted, despite the Prime Minister’s reference to a “fast-tracking” of the legislation.

Mr Hadley said: “It has always been the government’s stated aim to have new regulations on the statute books before the next election. The key issue is when the regulations actually come into force and the REC has been lobbying hard for a delayed implementation.”

Mr Hadley argued that the government’s confirmation of an extended second round consultation on the draft regulations is significant. As well as providing an extra chance for business groups to express their views, it means that effectively the earliest the regulations could go live is October 2010 rather than April 2010.

He added: “The REC will continue to fight for actual implementation to be pushed back as late as possible – to the end of 2011 – in order to provide the industry with time to prepare and with much-needed breathing space in a tough business climate.”