AWR – so what do we really know?

We at Parasol have been running an Agency Workers Regulations website for some time now and like to think we are reasonably close to developments. We work with over 2000 recruitment businesses so hear a lot about what is concerning staffing businesses big and small. We are also a founder member of the FCSA trade association whom are involved in the DBIS guidance workshops alongside the REC, CBI, TUC, APSCo and others. I’m not saying we are on the “inside”, no one is but I do like to think we are very close to the subject matter and can therefore provide a decent balanced view.

So, what do we know?

  1. Guidance will not be a silver bullet and is not law, the regulations are.
  2. Guidance will make things clearer though.
  3. The complexity of the UK flexible workforce industry is not recognised in the regulations, all temporary workers in all guises are basically vulnerable.
  4. There is definitely not one size fits all solution.
  5. It is an opportunity for recruiters to show added value to end-clients.
  6. Contractors/freelancers are largely unaware of implications.
  7. There are risk management and operational framework techniques available.
  8. It’s not the end of the world.
  9. A properly constituted employment services provider (umbrella as was) is already 8/10ths of the way to AWR compliance now.
  10. Shameless plug – Parasol are experts in the field of temp workforce management.

So what can Agencies expect to need to do and resolve with clients? Well, dialogue is important and bringing people up to speed. This is not on the basis of fear, it’s on the basis of understanding where an end-client sees the temporary workforce going for them. At worse case, the staffing business is going to need to collect some data about rates of pay from that end-client and in turn be prepared to pass that data on to providers that will largely mitigate the risks for the agency and the end-client. In addition, there may need to be conversations around margin, rates and tenure but is that really such a bad thing?

And what about swedish derogation I hear you cry as you unpack your meatballs and sofa. Well, there is certainly the basis of a compliant (I hate the word “outside”) AWR model and again I will make the point that the model is very close to what a professional provider (Parasol) does today. Adding the extra componets is not trivial but equally with a long term view, achievable.

Let’s not forget that the courts will be the judge of this new world and as we have seen in Germany (Union class cases) the need for a staffing business to engage with a professional provider is paramount.

Our AWR site has of course more details and do get in touch via this site or one of the others if you have any specific questions you would like answering. See you at an AWR seminar soon, we will be the ones with solutions, not gloom :)

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