It was widely believed by some experts that the implementation of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) in October 2011 would result in a dramatic fall in temporary worker use; however, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has now said that the decline has been minimal, with many employment options still available for those working as agency and freelance workers.

The AWR were brought into effect last October as a way to provide agency workers with better employment rights. For all temporary staff working on contracts over three months in length, their rights are now the same as any permanent member of staff. The possible increase in cost to employers was an area of great debate, with many experts thinking that companies would reduce their agency worker demand.

A new poll from the REC has shown, however, that only 4% of companies have reduced the number of temporary workers that they use because of the AWR. Kevin Green, the REC’s chief executive, said that there had been “some real positives for workers, and that it’s recruitment agencies across the UK who have really absorbed the administrative burden and costs associated with the implementation of the new rules”.

There are still a vast number of opportunities for freelancers and agency workers to take advantage of. The REC poll also indicated that job satisfaction for agency workers had increased from 43% to 52%, showing that the work and life balance noted by those working on a freelance basis continues to be a positive career move to make.

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