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North Wales firm Gap Personnel issues warning over new agency workers legislation

RECRUITMENT firm Gap Personnel has warned businesses who use agency staff to be fully prepared for new legislation.

The new regulations involve the biggest ever shake-up of the temporary recruitment industry which will give temp workers the same rights as permanent employees – including pay.

Mark Roberts, operations director of the Wrexham-based firm, which has an office in Flint, fears the regulations are ambiguous and contain loopholes that could be open to legal challenges through the courts.

He said: “We have been preparing for this change for a long time now and have a strategy in place which considers how the changes affect all of our temporary workers and our client companies.

“However, the guidelines issued are unclear in parts and there is lots of confusion in the industry.

“We fear some of the guidance could be open to interpretation and could end up as test cases through the courts, causing further disruption to an economy which is still fragile as it comes out of recession.”

The agency workers regulations become law from October 1, giving temporary workers the right to the same basic employment and working conditions as if they had been recruited directly by the hirer, after completion of a 12-week qualifying period in a job.

The new regulations aim to equalise pay, duration of working time, length of night work, rest periods and rest breaks and annual leave.

However, they will not change the status of agency workers, so they will not be entitled to redundancy pay.

There are fears some companies may try to dodge the new legislation by ending temporary workers’ contracts at 11 weeks, before re-hiring them after a six-week gap. This is because a break of six weeks before the same worker is hired again ensures they do not qualify for equal treatment – although lawyers are warning companies who do this could still fall foul of the law.