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Has AWR had any impact on the UK’s contractor workforce?

Has AWR had any impact on the UK’s contractor workforce?

Six months on from the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations and its still pretty much business as usual as far as contractor demand is concerned.

The regulations offering contractors and other temporary workers the same employment conditions as their permanent counterparts after 12 weeks came into force on the first of October last year. The first 12-week period came to an end during the Christmas break and thousands of temporary workers should now be benefiting from equal treatment.

Research from de Poel showed a 13% year-on-year increase in the usage of temps in January. Adecco has reported that only 16% of hirers say AWR has had an impact on their plans.

However, it appears that employers are now turning to recruitment agencies when they want to hire contractors in order to get help with administering AWR.

In the UK, 4% of the total workforce is made up of contractors. Employers use contractors to fill skills gaps or short-term needs and in many cases they earn more than their permanent counterparts. Some employers also think of contracting as a type of probationary period when they can assess whether or not to offer a contractor a permanent position.

So far, we haven’t seen contractors rushing to lawyers and claiming unfair treatment, although some recruiters have exploited the Swedish Derogation Model loophole and forced contractors to become employees of the agency.

It’s still early days, but so far indications show that AWR has not had the adverse effect a lot of people thought it would have.

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Image: Business as usual by Lars Plougmann

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