What impact will the Agency Worker Regulations have on the retail sector when they come into effect in October?

There are more than 1.3 million agency workers operating within British businesses every day. Owing to the variation in staffing demand because of Sales, bank holidays and so on, the retail sector uses more than most and will be heavily affected by these regulations.

Upon completion of a 12-week qualifying period, an agency worker will be entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as a full time member of staff working in the same or a broadly similar capacity.

Top Gear Recruitment operations director James Mallick says the main challenge for businesses will be matching a temporary member of staff with the comparable permanent employee. “If this is done incorrectly, it could mean specific rights are granted mistakenly. Mismatching roles could end up costing you time and money,” he adds.

Furthermore, “the devil’s in the detail,” says Mallick. The 12-week qualifying period refers to calendar weeks. A temporary member of staff working 12 consecutive Saturdays will therefore also be covered by the legislation.

Some critics have suggested the new regulations might affect the recruitment of agency workers in the short term. But, says Mallick, “the economy cannot survive without them”. Retailers should make sure they work closely with temporary labour suppliers. If there is a breach of legislation, both parties could be liable. “It’s important to do your research and prepare thoroughly,” says Mallick.