Europe gives temps same rights as permanent staff
So much for UK gov's small biz promises
The European Parliament has passed a proposal to give temporary staff and contractors the same employment rights as permanent staff.
On the day Mandelson's Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform promised to cut red tape for small businesses, Brussels seems intent on moving in the opposite direction.
The Temporary Agency Workers directive gives temps the same rights as permies from day one - although UK workers might have to wait 12 weeks to get the same rights.
The directive will enforce equal treatment for both types of workers in terms of pay, holidays, working time, rest periods and maternity leave. Staff must have equal access to collective facilities like canteens and creches and better training for agency staff when working and in between assignments.
The directive must still be passed into UK law.
Jon Taylor, Head of Employment at emw law, said: "With the UK labour market in such a fragile state and unemployment rising, the Government should seriously reconsider whether now is the right moment to be imposing additional burdens on businesses.
"Making the labour market less adaptable at such a critical time for the UK economy could make the storm harder to weather. Undermining the cost savings and flexibility benefits of using temporary workers would be detrimental to all concerned."
A BERR spokesman said: "The Government hopes to introduce the necessary legislation in the current Parliamentary session. As we've consistently said, there will be a detailed consultation on the UK implementation of the Directive. Of course, we will look to avoid unnecessary burdens and costs for business while ensuring agency workers receive the appropriate protections."
The UK government, CBI and TUC agreed the 12 week wait for rights in May. ®
@ Dax Farrer
I'm a UK contractor. Someone let me marry their daughter once and now I not only have 2 beautiful kids but I actually got to spend some proper quality time with each of them after they were born.
But I do have a penchant for violent behavior and an unhealthy fixation on money.
Does this mean I'll be paid less now?
If I am a well paid contractor, earning substantially more than employees doing the equivalent work, then I should be able to choose to carry the risks. In the Netherlands, I take home about double what the equivalent local staff earn because of 1) skilled expat tax benefits; 2) I'm an independent contractor (a UK agency takes a cut, but once the contract's over, it's over); 3) plus I'm quite good at what I do and obviously worth the cost to the company or they wouldn't keep me .. I pay a payroll company a small percentage to handle my taxes and social security contributions.. I would find it extremely disturbing if this new directive impacts this arrangement. I realise that for many people contracting is seen as less than optimal, but for me, the flexibility of it - the so-long-as-it-suits-us-both arrangement - works great. I already see the inflexibility of the employment market negatively impacting many EU countries because skilled employees can usually get better money in other countries more easily. Maybe this is part of the plan - put every EU country on a more level playing field, to the detriment of those like me, and some of the companies currently enjoying the benefits of market flexibility. (Note: I'm really only against these laws where they're detrimental to the individual) If I want to sell my services for €1500/day full-time for a year (just an example), I should be able to without the company having to worry about being chased down for paternity leave payments or some-such (although it's perfectly fine for the company to require proof that I'm paying taxes etc., and in fact is probably a sensible legal requirement)
Neil Wilson: I think rate caps should be mandated for agencies.. either you're a proper employee and getting the equivalent protection (and salary through benefits), or you're getting a decent share of the cash. Simple as that.. and going in as a temp for less than full time staff is ridiculous. I can guarantee that the company pays more and the agency just shafts the worker.
"Seem to come across as antisocial loners with a penchant for violent behaviour and an unhealthy fixation on money."
That may be, but we're *rich* antisocial loners with a penchant for violent behaviour and an unhealthy fixation on money. :-)
We could be worse and be city traders ;-)