"An economic downturn should not be an excuse to deny people their rights to work”
9th February 2009: A new £1million campaign is launched today to help agency workers know their rights and help employers know their responsibilities.
The Government sponsored poster campaign will feature in public places, online and in local press, encouraging workers to be aware of their rights.
Business Minister Pat McFadden has written to over 13,000 employment agencies outlining how they can make sure they are complying with the law.
This will complement the work of the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate, which recently doubled in size and extended its investigative powers.
Minister for Employment Relations McFadden said: "Employment agencies need to make sure they play by the rules and don’t short-change their staff. An economic downturn should not be an excuse to deny people their rights to work.
"This campaign will help agency workers know their rights and help employers know their responsibilities".
Katja Hall, Director of Employment Policy at the CBI welcomed the campaign saying “Increasing people’s knowledge is an important first step in ensuring that workers access the rights to which they are entitled."
The campaign has also been welcomed by TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber who said: "Of course most agencies act within the law, but some agency workers miss out on the most basic employment rights, and are among the most vulnerable in the whole workforce.”
Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said: "The vast majority of agencies are working very hard to keep people in work in a very challenging environment. Agency workers deserve to have their rights respected and we welcome BERR’s campaign to root out rogue agencies and employers who do not play by the rules."
Simon Garbett, Chairman of The Employment Agents Movement (TEAM) said they totally applaud “BERR and its campaign to raise awareness of workers rights. Whilst the campaign is primarily aimed at employment agencies it obviously should encompass all workers of any agency or employer.
"Enforcing minimum standards such as Health & Safety, minimum wages, holiday pay and ensuring workers pay is not reduced by illegal or unfair deductions is entirely appropriate."
Information on agency worker’s rights can be accessed via DirectGov, and any workers who think they are not getting a fair deal should contact the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate on 0845 955 5105.
Business Link (http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/employmentagencies) contains further information on how recruiters can ensure compliance with the law.