Reviewing your contracts properly

Clients regularly come to us with their client’s terms and say ‘I’ve had a look through, largely it’s fine but can you just check I haven’t missed anything?’ Whilst we applaud the attempts at getting involved in the more gritty aspects of your contracts, often these contracts are anything but fine. We thought we would give you some pointers to highlight the importance of looking at each contract in detail before agreeing to provide your services. You can watch out for these before seeking legal advice. FEES: When can you charge a fee, are there transfer fees for all situations and are these Regulations compliant? Some contracts can appear to cover certain situations, but in fact do not. LIABILITIES:  Are you liable for the work your candidates are doing on site or just for your work as a recruitment business? This can be disguised, with some horrible consequences if things…

Business waiting for Govt to grasp the AWR nettle

The coalition government’s response on 5th July 2010 to a House of Commons question as to their intentions for the Agency Workers Regulations, namely whether they have plans to amend or replace the Regulations, was far from definitive. Ed Davey the (Liberal Democrat) Minister for Employment Relations gave a written answer that indicated that the government was ‘currently considering the way forward’. Contrary to some media reports this does not amount to the announcement of a review. However a review is required, says Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the ARC. Pointing to two of the Coalition’s agreed commitments in this area, to cut back gold plating of EU Directives and to reduce unnecessary costs, he said “the delay in announcing a review is worrying. There are a number of areas in which the Government could make significant savings, not the least because the public sector is one of the largest hirers…

Recruitment law update

It has been a little while since the last recruitment law update in AgencyZone. We present here a summary of recent legal developments that may affect recruitment businesses and their clients.    The new right for time off to train or study. Employees now have a statutory right to request time off work for study or training, where it would improve the employer’s business or the employee’s effectiveness within it. This right is available to employees with at least 26 weeks of service and where the employer has 250 or more employees (from April 2011 this will be extended to organisations of all sizes). The legislation does not include requirements for the employer to fund the training, and there are various ‘permissible grounds for refusal’, which should cover most of the problems that might arise as a result of the employee’s time off. However, failure to follow the correct procedures may…

Minimise your MSC risk. Free and easy

The Managed Service Companies (MSC) legislation can expose recruitment companies to the transfer of the tax debt accrued by service providers, such as umbrella companies. Agency directors may be personally liable. Lawspeed’s Service Provider Audit (SPA) service has been helping recruitment businesses to minimise their exposure under the MSC legislation, free of charge, for over a year. Whilst SPA has always been free to recruiters, it is now even easier to minimise your MSC risk using SPA. Reminder of the problem All service providers claim they are compliant so that they do not expose the agency to risk of debt transfer. However, some models carry risk that may not be obvious and if debt transfer does arise, the sums involved could be substantial. Every MP will assert that his/her expenses claims are legitimate, some no doubt are and some apparently are not. However, an independent appraisal is essential in all cases. The same…

ARC urges change to ET rules for dubious claims

Every year employers and agencies face claims that have no real merit, yet employers choose to pay out rather than incur the cost of defending the action. The reason for this acquiescence was the subject of a recent networking meeting held by the Association of Recruitment Consultancies, which was attended by agencies and end users. Adrian Marlowe, chairman of the ARC, reminded the attendees how, earlier this year, there was much comment regarding the case of a serial litigant who was issuing Employment Tribunal claims, usually based on age discrimination allegations, following false CVs sent to agencies (and possibly directly to employers), advertising job vacancies. A neat way to make money, commented Marlowe, but how could this happen? He explained that practicality rather than justice was normally the driving factor, given the cost and aggravation that respondents faced whenever a claim was made. “Is this fair, and if not what…

ARC seeks review of regulations and VAT concession

The Budget, as we now know, has set the economy on a determined course of austerity. The public sector is singled out for substantial reductions, while there is a focus on the private sector which is seen by the Chancellor as the best way to stimulate growth. “The combination of these factors offers substantial opportunities for recruitment consultancies, that adopt the right strategic approach, to help the recovery” says Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC). “Understanding the long term objectives of their clients will be as important as ever and a willingness to facilitate those objectives, in the manner that only recruitment consultancies can provide, will be crucial as employers struggle to maintain their services and products.” The ARC argues that the role that recruitment consultancies have to play in terms of both permanent placements and temporary supply could well be key, and deserves maximum promotion…

New EU Directive for Self Employed

Following the Agency Workers Regulations, further EU legislation is on the way that is aimed at giving  more rights to  self-employed workers and their ‘assisting spouses’- including the right to maternity leave for the first time – under new legislation endorsed by EU governments on June 7, 2010.  ‘Assisting spouses’ means those who  provide effective assistance in the business of the self-employed worker and do not have their own income from another professional activity or a substitute income that entitles them to full social security benefits.   According to Adrian Marlowe, Managing Director of Lawspeed, for the most part, the entitlement to leave, and some compensation for the pregnant self-employed worker, is already provided for in existing social security legislation. The proposed directive only expects the maternity leave rights to be extended to the self-employed and their assisting spouses for  14 weeks. Maternity leave currently only applies to employees not…

Fears exaggerated over possible union walk out on

Fears are exaggerated that if Business Secretary Vince Cable  changes the Agency Workers Regulations in a bid to simplify them for employers, infuriated unions would walk away from the 12-week deal and insist on equal rights from day one. This is the view of Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) in response to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph where employers  warned  Cable that his proposed review of the Agency Workers Regulations, particularly the 12-week rule, might put a brake on the employment of temporary workers and thus put a big dent in the income of recruitment agencies. Under the current agreement between the CBI and TUC, temporary workers are due to get the same pay and working conditions as permanent staff after 12 weeks in a job, rather than on day one, as unions originally demanded. “Business leaders are being unnecessarily cautious” warns Marlowe.…

Agency Workers Regulations – what do hirers want?

Since the finalisation of the Agency Workers Regulations earlier this year there has been a flurry of activity to gear up for the new rules. However these regulations do not come into force until October 2011 and there is no legal reason why they cannot be modified, providing that they meet the requirements of the European Agency Workers Directive. There was always the prospect of a review of the regulations as an election was due. The Liberal Democrats promised to cut red tape and have expressed a strong “anti gold plating of EU Directives” message; David Cameron personally sought revocation of the Regulations in an early day motion laid before Parliament, and his pre election shadow minister for BIS promised a review if the industry wants it. The current Regulations gold plate the Directive in various different ways that potentially interfere with economic recovery, at a time when not everyone…

The ARC calls for coalition to cut back excessive legislation

The new coalition  Conservative/Liberal Democrat government should take the opportunity to cut back the excess of employment regulation created by the last Labour Government. That is the view of Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies(ARC). He says: “Employers and recruitment agencies have been flooded with legislation and regulations  which have reportedly cost the UK economy  well over £170billion over the last decade. Much of this emanates from EU legislation and the new Government should focus on weeding out regulations that inhibit business from generating new jobs.” Marlowe argues that with inevitable cutbacks in the public sector, the Government will have to depend on the private sector to provide growth in employment opportunities. This can only be achieved by cutting back expenditure on unnecessary regulation. “Now that Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable has been given the role of overseeing banking and business, it is important that he pushes…