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Companies urged to prepare for new AWR

Published 26th July, 2011 by Neil Nixon

Companies urged to prepare for new AWR

Leading time and attendance software specialist Auto Time Solutions is urging cleaning businesses that use temporary staff to ensure they are well prepared for new legislation, which will give temporary workers the same pay and rights as permanent employees. The Agency Workers Regulation (AWR), which becomes law from October this year, is set to have profound implications for temporary agency workers, employers and agencies.

Under the new EU regulations agency staff who have worked for 12 consecutive weeks at a company will be entitled to the same pay, overtime allowances, annual leave and breaks as permanent staff doing the same job. But Christian Berenger, business development director at Birmingham-based Auto Time Solutions, fears that many companies could fall foul of the new AWR regulations when they come into force as they are unprepared for the changes: “Having spoken to companies throughout the UK, it is evident that many are still ill-prepared for the impending regulations. With the new AWR rules drawing ever closer it is vital that managers prepare for the new changes before the rules come into effect rather than leaving it until the last minute and relying on support from recruitment providers to ensure compliance.”

In the UK, 4% of workers are employed via agencies - almost double the average across Europe. Agency workers are popular amongst employers as they are seen as a short-term solution to meet flexible workplace demands or provide cover for staff absences.

But putting temporary agency workers on equal terms with permanent employees with regard to pay and conditions will put companies and recruitment providers under increasing pressure to administer the time and attendance of temporary staff.

One of the biggest challenges facing organisations under the new regulations will be determining the accrual of the 12 week qualifying period as there are many factors that affect the qualifying ‘clock’, such as breaks for sickness, maternity leave, holidays and jury service. For that reason Auto Time has developed its flagship product Vanquish with new features that will assist companies with their compliance to AWR.

With Vanquish, employees simply clock in and out using biometric handscan terminals or web-enabled devices such as mobile phones. All captured data is instantly transmitted to a web portal, enabling managers to monitor employee time and attendance in real-time, and identify when temporary workers are coming up to the 12 week qualifying period under the new regulation.

Managers can input specific company rules relating to shift patterns, breaks and overtime allowances, and clocking data can be stored and retrieved easily. The system also allows managers to proactively monitor staff absences by sending SMS or email alerts should an employee fail to turn in for work.

Berenger believes Vanquish will deliver significant benefits to employers that frequently use temporary workers in terms of accurate real-time attendance data and reduced administration costs: “The new legislation presents an enormous challenge for companies who recruit temporary staff. By taking control of staff time and attendance, businesses can protect themselves from unknown breaches of the new regulation. Employers that frequently use temporary workers will understandably be concerned about the increasing administration they will face because of the new rules. However, investing in a workforce management solution like Vanquish can deliver significant cost savings by reducing the administrative burden and automating much of the attendance and payroll process.”

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