From October 1st temporary workers (usually employed through an agency) who clock up more than 12 weeks in one assignment will be entitled to the same pay as permanent staff. They will also be eligible for performance related bonuses, overtime and other benefits.
Any recruiters and businesses looking to get around these new rules should prepare themselves for a surge in employment tribunals within a few months according to industry experts.
Under the new rules recruiters who choose to hire the agency worker directly – before hiring them out elsewhere – can legitimately bypass the law and continue paying reduced wages.
Other lawful avoidance schemes could see employers hiring temps on fixed term contracts or sacking them in the 11th week of work. Recent research showed that half a million temps stand to lose their jobs just before Christmas as a third of employees are preparing to end their contracts.
Unions are likely to encourage agency workers to become members as this may well speed up the testing of any such tactics in a court process.