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Freelancers fret over tangle of EU red tape

Employment rules could hurt IT contractors

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The Professional Contractors Group (PCG) is worried that the UK's contractors could get tied up in a tangle of red tape if the Government signs up to proposed employment rules which would extend full employment rights to temporary workers.

Under the proposed European Agency Workers Directive, temporary workers would benefit from the same employment rights as permanent workers once they had been in the job for six weeks. But there's speculation that the Goverment could cave in to union demands and extend full employment rights to workers from day one.

The bosses organisation - the CBI - argues that this would do "irreparable damage" to the UK's temping market and ultimately destroy jobs. Trade unions insist that the proposed legislation is about securing equal pay and basic rights for all workers.

The PCG - the trade body for the freelance small business community, many of whom work in IT - is also worried that the proposed legislation could damage the chances of professional contractors finding work. While the PCG supports legislation which would "protect vulnerable temporary workers and outlaw exploitation", it insistes that contractors and small business owners could lose out.

Said PCG chairman Dr Simon Juden: "We fear that the burdens on client and contractor alike would be large and could therefore discourage the use of professional freelancers. We are not persuaded that these measures are necessary in this broad scope and feel that incorporated freelance workers should be excluded from such legislation."

The PCG added that signing up to "one size fits all" legislation would be "inappropriate". ®

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