UK failing to implement EU rules designed to give equal pay to agency workers

With the recent row over workers on zero hours contracts, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is complaining to the European Commission, claiming that the UK is failing to implement European rules designed to give equal pay to agency workers. Under the rules, agency workers who have been with a company for more than 12 weeks should be entitled to the same pay as permanent staff. The TUC claimed that the government’s implementation of the Temporary Agency Workers Directive was flawed, due to an exemption that meant that if a worker was directly employed by an agency, the company did not have to pay that worker the same rate of pay as permanent staff. The TUC has reported that there has been a big rise in these types of contracts, with more than one in six agency workers now on them, particularly in low-paid, low-skilled work. The exemption is now being referred to as “the Swedish derogation” because that is where the contracts originate. However, in Sweden, workers still receive equal pay once in post and 90% of normal pay between assignments. The TUC is calling for these types of contracts to be banned and has now asked the European Commission to investigate the problem. The government has said “We will of course consider carefully any information the TUC presents to the European Commission.” The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with employment law solicitors in Gloucester and across the country.