Thousands of social workers and hundreds of employers will be affected by new regulations for employing agency staff, which come into effect tomorrow.
The Agency Workers Regulations stipulate that, after 12 weeks, agency staff will be entitled to the same pay and conditions as permanent employees doing comparable work.
Those councils and other organisations employing agency social workers will have to keep recruitment agencies informed of their terms and conditions.
“[Employers] need to consider how the regulations affect their organisation,” said Kelly Sayers, partner and head of employment services at Prettys law firm. “They will need to have systems in place to comply with the regulations and cut the risk of an agency worker making a claim against them at an employment tribunal.”
About 7% of local authority social workers are provided through temporary employment agencies, according to research by Community Care.
“The new rights of agency staff in all sectors to equal treatment should give employers pause for thought about the way they use this sort of cover and produce more of a planned approach, which will be welcome,” said Ruth Cartwright, England manager of the British Association of Social Workers.
The new regulations are based on an agreement between the TUC, the CBI and the former Labour government and implements the EU Agency Workers Directive agreed in 2008.
What do you think?Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails