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Agency Workers Legislation, Paternity Leave and When Does a Notice Period Really Start? – May 2011

The new regulations on the employment of Agency Workers comes into effect on 1st October 2011. The implications for employers who rely on a flexible workforce to manage fluctuations in activity are significant. Are you ready for the change?

From October 1st 2011 anyone employed by you as an agency temporary worker will be legally entitled to parity with your permanent employees on many aspects of the employment relationship.

From day one all agency workers will be entitled to enjoy all the ‘environmental benefits’ offered to other employees working in your business. This means, for example, that they will have equal access to facilities offered by you such as canteen and car parking facilities that other staff enjoy.

From the 1st day of the 13th week of employment, an agency worker will be entitled to receive equal pay and conditions to comparable permanent employees of your business. Most aspects of the employment relationship are included in this right, and there are no easy ways around the legislation which has been thought out carefully to ensure that employers don’t use short term gaps in employment or ‘changes’ of role to avoid compliance.

Employment agencies and employers share responsibility to ensure that the new law is adhered to so co-operation between you and the agencies with regard to disclosure of pay and benefits information will be required.

Inevitably, there will be cost implications for you as employers where agencies try to maintain their margins where agency workers are currently paid less than permanent employees. If you employ large numbers of agency workers this could be highly significant. So what can you do to minimise the impact of this change on your operational costs?

New Paternity Leave Rules Now in Effect

From 3rd April 2011 fathers of new babies will be entitled to take up to 26 weeks leave, sharing the allowance of up to 12 months leave with mothers. How will this impact on your business, and how will you communicate with other employers to check entitlements?

When Does Contractual Notice Really Start?

The EAT (Employment Appeals Tribunal) has ruled in the case of Wang v University of Keele that contracted notice begins on the day after notice is given, not on the day an employee receives it. Why does this matter? An employee generally has a 3 month period following the termination of employment within which to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal. In these circumstances, what a difference a day can make!

Contact us if you would like to talk about any of the above, any other employment matter or to arrange a free HR healthcheck of your existing contracts of employment, policies and procedures.