The Agency Workers Directive (AWD) comes into effect in Britain by October. The directive aims to bring equal rights for temporary staff within companies, with temporary staff having equal rights to pay and terms such as holiday pay as their permanent peers after a derogation period, which has been defined by each EU member state.
In 2008, Britain set their derogation period as 12 weeks; meaning that after 12 weeks, a temporary member of staff becomes entitled to the same benefits as their permanent colleagues.
The knock on effect of this is the possibility of contracts being cancelled before the 12 week cut off period, or reluctance to hire temporary staff in the first place. In Britain, the Confederation of British Industry has estimated that implementing AWD will reduce the number of temporary workers by around 25%.
Independent MEP for the West Midlands, Nikki Sinclaire is baffled by the decision to pass this legislation “In times of financial austerity, it is alarming to hear that UK and Irish businesses are now going to be wary about hiring temporary staff. While I am in favour of people being treated fairly within the workplace, there can be no ‘one size fits all’ policy which covers the span of the European Union when it comes to issues like these. Small businesses are struggling to keep afloat without EU meddling and making their lives even harder”.