Cameron meddling again?
Published: 30 Sep 2011
The Government could still move to amend the implementation of the Agency Workers Directive 2008/104/EC, according to reports published this month. The Agency Workers Regulations SI 2010/93 are due to come into force on 1 October 2011, meaning that agency workers will have the same rights to pay, benefits, rest periods and holidays as someone recruited directly by the hirer after they have been there for 12 weeks.
However, the Government has sought expert legal advice on the legislation and has been told that some elements in the Regulations may be able to be stripped away as they have been unnecessarily included. A Downing Street spokesman said, "We are now looking at every part of employment law as part of the Red Tape Challenge. We want to do everything we can to help employers and drive growth."
Alexander Ehmann, Head of Regulatory Affairs at the Institute of Directors (IOD) commented, "We applaud the Government's decision to rethink the implementation of the Agency Workers Directive. We have long argued that vital improvements can be made by stripping away the unnecessary gold-plating in these provisions. We urge the Government to look again at the advice we received from the European Commission in 2009, which stated that the rules only need apply to businesses with binding pay scales and collective agreements. The desire to preserve a 12-week qualifying period agreed between the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) should not be allowed to derail a significant easing of the regulatory burden on British Businesses."
In contrast, Nicola Tager, an employment solicitor for Harbottle & Lewis, cast doubt on whether the Agency Workers Regulations could be changed at this late stage. "Has Downing Street sought this legal advice too late? The Regulations are currently drafted and are due to come into effect in less than one month, yet the Government has had since January 2010 when draft Regulations were laid before Parliament to make changes. Meanwhile, they now only have until 5 December 2011 to implement the Agency Workers Directive or it will face hefty EU fines."
Agency Workers Legislation
Published: 29 Sep 2011
The Agency Workers Regulations SI 2010/93, which will come into force on 1 October 2011.
They provide certain rights for temporary agency workers, including the right to basic working and employment conditions. As a result, they implement Directive 2008/104/EC, on temporary agency work, which aims to ensure the protection of temporary agency workers by applying the principle of equal treatment. This provides that the basic working and employment conditions (duration of working time, overtime, breaks, rest periods, night work, holidays, public holidays and pay) of temporary agency workers should be, for the duration of their employment, at least those that would apply if they had been recruited directly for the same job.
The agency sector is a crucial part of the UK labour market, which includes around 1.3 million agency workers (around 5% of the work force), performing a wide variety of roles in a huge variety of organisations, and supplied through about 16,000 agencies. The sector provides many opportunities for workers, including an important route into permanent employment, as well as flexibility for many employers.
Since 1997, the Government has put in place a strengthened framework of core workplace rights. This includes agency workers, who now benefit from the right to a minimum wage, a right to paid holiday and the right not to work more than 48 hours a week on average.
Against this background, the Government has always supported the underlying objectives of the Directive. However, they also consider it crucial to make sure that greater fairness for agency workers is combined with maintenance of the valuable flexibility that the agency sector provides for both workers and employers. It is therefore hoped that these Regulations will give agency workers an entitlement to equal treatment in respect of basic working and employment conditions after 12 weeks in a given job.
Published: 29 Sep 2011
The Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products Regulations SI 2010/2617 implement Directive 2009/125/EC, which establishes a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products, by making it an offence for those products to be marketed or used unless they:
- comply with certain measures;
- have been declared as complying with those measures; and
- bear a CE marking.
Published: 29 Sep 2011
The Equality Act 2010, received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010. This Act mainly applies to England, Scotland and Wales, with some additional sections applying to Northern Ireland.
This is a very detailed Act, with the following provisions having significance to health and safety:
Published: 08 Sep 2011
The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) (Amendment) Regulations SI 2011/1567, which amend the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations SI 2000/1059, to include individuals that show no evidence of disease (asymptomatic individuals) who are exposed to medical x-rays for the purpose of health assessments, as those who must be protected from ionising radiation.
The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations SI 2000/1059 implement Directive 97/43/EURATOM, laying down basic measures for the health protection of individuals against dangers of ionising radiation in relation to medical exposure.
Published: 01 Sep 2011
This Edition sees the publication of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (Amendment) Order SI 2011/1868 which amends the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, insofar as it relates to various forms of custody or detention.
In addition, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (Amendment) Order SI 2011/1868 amends the Act, insofar as it relates to various forms of custody or detention.
The Act creates an offence where an organisation can be found guilty of the offence of corporate manslaughter if the way in which its activities were managed or organised by senior management causes a death and amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care. When the Bill was originally debated in Parliament, amendments were tabled at a very late stage to make sure the Act would also apply to the management of custody. Those amendments did not cover service custody premises, which are the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence or customs facilities, which are the responsibility of the UK Border Agency. When Parliament agreed the amendments, they said they could be delayed for up to five years to allow sufficient time to comply.
Custody providers have now indicated that they are ready for these provisions to take effect.