Legal Information Centre


27 October 2008 by Mary Heaney

EU approves equality bill for temporary employees

The European Parliament has voted through a bill granting temporary employees the same rights as permanent staff. The legislation could mean less work for temporary employees as businesses are denied the flexibility that such workers currently afford

The European Parliament has voted through a bill granting temporary employees the same rights as permanent staff. The new legislation could mean less work for temporary employees as businesses are denied the flexibility that such workers currently afford.


Under the current rules employers do not have to give temporary workers the same benefits as permanent members of staff. They are not entitled to annual leave or maternity leave and can be paid less for doing the same job as a permanent employee.


Under new legislation, however, temporary workers will receive the same benefits as their permanent counterparts depending on how each country negotiates the details with their trade unions. In the case of Britain, temporary staff will receive these rights once they have been in the job for 12 weeks.


Employment lawyers have mixed views on the impact of the bill. Employment solicitor Kitty Falls, of Southampton based law firm Eric Robinson, says this could mean less work for agency workers.


But Ellie Hibberd of London employment solicitors Dawsons believes that the changes will have little impact. Most agency workers operate under such short term contracts that they fall within the 12 week threshold anyway, she says.


The new rules come into force in 2010.


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