Temporary workers to get new rights - in 2011

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Indy Politics

The Government today confirmed plans to give temporary workers the same rights as permanent staff, but not until 2011, much later than unions had been expecting.

The EU Agency Workers Directive was due to be introduced in the UK as early as next Spring, but ministers decided earlier this year that the measure will come into force in October 2011, the last possible date under EU law.

The Government said today the directive will be implemented in a way that meets its twin objective of providing greater fairness for agency workers while maintaining the flexibility the sector provides for employers and staff.

The purpose of the regions is to give fair treatment to agency workers and maintain labour market flexibility, said the Government.

The regulations will provide an entitlement to equal treatment on pay, holidays and other benefits after 12 weeks in a job.

Equal access to child care and transport services will also be offered, as well as improved rights to expectant mothers such as time off to attend ante-natal appointments.

The measures will benefit around 1.3 million agency workers employed throughout the UK.

Business groups had welcomed the delay in implementing the directive, warning of the additional costs firms could face as they struggled to cope with the recession if an earlier date had been announced.

But unions attacked the Government over the delay, saying they had been expecting the new rights to be brought in much earlier.