The European Parliament has now adopted the Temporary Agency Work Directive, which provides that agency workers must be treated equally to comparable permanent workers in the host organisation in relation to basic working and employment terms and conditions. Equal treatment will apply from day one, except in the UK where the right will only apply after 12 weeks' employment. The CBI estimates that over half of agency assignments last for fewer than 12 weeks and will therefore be unaffected by the Directive. Occupational benefits such as sick pay and pensions are also excluded.
The Directive must be implemented into UK law within three years. The UK agreed to the terms of this directive in return for the continuing opt-out from the Working Time Directive. However the opt-out is under renewed attack as amendments to the Working Time Directive are debated in the European Parliament.