Business world gripes over new temp rules

By staff

Extra pay and benefits rights for temporary workers which come into effect this weekend have prompted criticism from business groups.

Britain's estimated 1.4 million agency workers will get the same holiday, pay and overtime rights as permanent employees after 12 weeks of service from tomorrow.

The move, a result of new European rules, has led to a tirade of complaints from the business sector, which fears it will damage the ability of British firms to contribute to the economic recovery.

"There couldn't be a worse time to bring in this unwelcome Brussels Directive," CBI chief policy director Katja Hall said.

"A hard-won 12-week qualification period for each temp to be in a firm before the rules are applied should help control costs and minimise administrative burdens."

It estimated the cost to businesses would be £1.8 billion each year.

The Forum for Private Business suggested the new rules will make the labour market less flexible and that job creation and recruitment would suffer.

Research from the British Chambers of Commerce found one in five businesses plan to hire fewer agency workers because of the new rules.

Others fear companies will simply terminate the contract of temporary staff after 11 weeks to avoid the effects of the new legislation altogether.