The temporary agency workers directive is due to be discussed at the Council meeting on the 5th December. Should consensus be reached at this meeting then the Directive –under the co-decisions procedure – will still be subject to a vote by the European Parliament. Article 5 of the directive as currently drafted provides for equal treatment of agency workers. The stated aim of this article is to ensure that: “The basic working and employment conditions applicable to temporary agency workers should be at least those which would apply to such workers if they were recruited by the user undertaking to occupy the same job”. From day one of an assignment temps will be entitled to parity with permanent staff on: ·       The duration of working time·       Overtime ·       Breaks ·       Rest periods ·       Night work ·       Holidays·       Public holidays·       Temps should be informed of any vacant posts within the user undertaking (employing company) in the same way as permanent staff.

·       Temps shall be granted access to “the amenities or collective facilities and transport service” under the same conditions as permanent staff. This includes fringe benefits e.g. gym membership, sports facilities, staff canteen, travel allowances, season ticket loan etc.

From week 6 of an assignment temps will be entitled to parity with permanent staff on: ·       Pay          Key points·        The UK’s concern has always been with the principle of equal pay. Temps are paid on average 70% of the pay levels of permanent staff. If you include agency fees then under these proposals they will become prohibitively expensive for businesses to use. The Government has estimated that businesses would face between £239m and £387m per year through higher fees due to cost pass-on from agencies. Rather than employing people on a temporary basis businesses are likely to extend overtime for existing staff to cover the absences of colleagues.·        In practice it would be extremely difficult for businesses to identify direct comparators for temps as the predominant practice in the private sector is to negotiate individual terms and conditions based on skills and experience..·        These proposals will disproportionately affect the UK as many as one third of all agency workers are employed in the UK. The agency sector is well established here but not in other EU states for example until recently they were illegal in Italy. Other high users of temps like the Netherlands will be partially impacted as they can rely on collective agreements to derogate from the directive. The UK has no such option.·        The experience of other EU member states is not encouraging. Regulation for equal treatment has led to a decrease in demand for temps in Spain and a fall in the rate of growth of the temporary worker market in the Netherlands.·        Our position is that the derogation from the directive on pay should be extended to 12 months. This is in line with other employment rights like unfair dismissal and ensures that an ongoing relationship between the agency worker and the end-user has been established.