Fiona McKay looks at the key questions to consider one year on from the introduction of The Agency Workers Regulations
Call centres still rely heavily on agency workers in their labour supply models.
On the 1st October last year, the biggest piece of legislation ever to affect agency workers came into effect. The Agency Workers Regulations now gives agency workers, after 12 weeks service, the right to equal treatment and the same pay and holiday as your permanent staff. Are you complying with the legislation and is your use of agency workers meeting your actual business requirements?
1. Long-term agency workers
Are you using long-term temps? Would it be better to move your long-service temps onto the payroll?
If you do use long-term temps, have you considered placing them on a pay between assignments contract? This is where the agency employs the temps and supplies them to you, which removes the right to equal pay. Would this arrangement suit your business needs and meet the ethical standards of your organisation?
2. Service levels and current performance
How well are your agency workers delivering? Just what level of service have you received? Are you supplied with great agency workers or is the cost of “churn” excessive?
3. Employee relations
Do the agencies you use understand your employee relations – how agile and experienced are your agencies and do they advise and assist you with the challenges you may have with agency workers, unions, employee representatives and workplace councils?
4. Legislative knowledge
Who do you rely on to give you guidance on agency worker issues?
Although this is the responsibility of the agency, competence and ability to interpret the legislation also sits firmly with you as the hirer.
How confident and comfortable are you with the Agency Workers Regulations in practice? Dealing with the paperwork end is simply not enough.
Are you confident that your agency suppliers are sharing intelligence and updates with you, and have a reputation as industry Agency Workers Regulations experts? Do they understand other associated areas of legislation?
How agile are they regarding TUPE [Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006], equality and the issues you will be facing imminently with Pensions Auto-Enrollment?
5. Audit data
How accessible and transparent is the internal agency workers’ audit data? How compliant is your paperwork and the paperwork of your agencies? Are they members of a professional body, and have they passed an independent industry audit? If they have tiered suppliers, how compliant are they?
6. Financial viability
How financially viable are your current agency suppliers? Are they experiencing financial challenges? And if so, could that trigger debt transfer issues to you as the hirer if an agency goes into administration?
And finally, could the current modus operandi and actions of you and your agency suppliers ultimately make you liable if a claim was issued in an employment tribunal from one or more of your agency workers?
Do you have any tips for employing agency workers? Please leave your tips in an email to Call Centre Helper
Fiona McKay is the Managing Director of Seminars & Solutions, a niche business that provides employment law training and business consultancy to call centres.
For any further information, help and advice you can contact Fiona on 0161 905 1219 or www.seminarsandsolutions.com