The Government has announced that regulations implementing the European Temporary Agency Workers Directive (2008/104/EC) will not come into force until October 2011.
Earlier this year, the Government carried out an initial consultation on how to implement the Directive, which requires that temporary agency workers be given equal treatment with permanent workers as regards basic working conditions such as pay, working hours and holidays. In the UK, the equal treatment rule will only apply after an agency worker has been in the same job for at least 12 weeks.
A second consultation document has now been published which sets out further details about the way in which the Government intends to proceed and contains a set of draft regulations on which comments are invited.
The deadline for EU member states to implement the Directive is 5 December 2011. The Government had previously indicated that it was minded to bring legislation into force well in advance of that date, possibly as soon as next spring. However, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is now saying that, whilst it intends to enact the regulations during the current parliamentary session, they will not be brought into force until October 2011.
The delay is intended to give employers and employment agencies time to prepare for the impact of the legislation on their business and to avoid changing requirements until the economic recovery is more firmly established.