Xmas temps face bleak future

If you're currently temping, will you have a job in January? New EU regulations means the costs of using temps will increase once they have worked for 12 weeks. It's thought up to a third of employers with temps will shed them before the 12-week threshold is crossed. Given that the regulations came into force from 1 October, many temporary jobs could get the chop before 1 Jan.

Better pay - with a cost?

The EU rules means that the future of using long-term temporary workers must be in doubt, forcing many employers to hire permanent staff. It's a directive that will hit UK employers particularly hard because the temporary labour market in the UK is bigger than in other EU countries. (In the UK, there are around 1.3m agency workers of all ages.)

But this legislation certainly means well with better pay and holiday compensation for thousands of workers. Some UK business sectors are heavy users of temps, particularly the logistics, business services and IT industry. Many temps are paid substantially less than their full-time permanent colleagues - by as much as 30%.

Exposed

But if you're an employment agency and you're paying, via the client, the same rate as a permanent member of staff, plus an agency commission, it gets expensive.

"The advantages of using a flexible workforce during the current economic climate," said employment partner Stefan Martin at law firm Allen & Overy in a recent survey, "will be compromised as employers feel the burden of additional rules & regulations."

"While businesses will undoubtedly continue to use agency workers, this will result in increased costs. Rather than strengthening their rights, this may actually make the position of agency workers much more uncertain, exposing them to early termination of contracts."
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