HR will have to tighten up on agency workers

first_imgHR will have to tighten up on agency workersOn 6 May 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. It may not look like a big headache, but the way UK employers handle 1.8million agency workers could emerge as one of the biggest challenges facing HRfor years. Why? Because it impacts on most organisations at the crucial operationallevel, and the burden of red tape and increased costs is looming large. This week’s front-page story about the Reuters driver who won an unfairdismissal and redundancy case at the Court of Appeal is a stark warning of therisks that lie ahead. Combined with the forthcoming EU Agency WorkersDirective, it shows that HR will have to get a grip of what is currently a laxprocess. The landmark case was won on the basis that the lorry driver’s five years’service was capable of creating an implied contract. What Reuters had said anddone with the driver during this period was called into question, along withrelevant documentation. You must recognise the different status of temps and avoid treating them asregular staff. For many large-scale businesses, it is common to use different agencies torecruit temporary staff and involve HR and/or line managers in theirprocurement. Such inconsistencies can lead to many different practices in oneorganisation – or even one small team. Temps clearly need to be valued and protected, but our readers believe theyshould not be over-regulated to the extent that their employment stiflescompetitiveness. Research conducted by Personnel Today and Manpower shows that employers havean enlightened approach, with 45 per cent of responding firms claiming to paytheir agency staff the same as permanent workers, and 23 per cent paying tempsmore. However, 70 per cent of the 1,000 respondents were fearful the new EUDirective would lead to more red tape and bigger costs. Managing temps is not just about juggling costs, it is also about policiesand procedures that clarify their employment status. Temps provide that allimportant flexibility and will remain a vital resource, but one that is costingyour businesses around £1.7bn a year. Surely anything costing that much deserves a lot more consideration thanmany are affording it. Any employer using agency workers would be wise toreview their processes now. By Jane King, editorlast_img read more