The Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) has proposed that agency workers who earn one-and-a-half times the minimum wage, which currently stands at £5.73 an hour for adults, should not be covered by the Agency Worker's Directive (AWD) for the first year of their assignment.

ARC, established in March to represent recruitment firms' interests, said the move would help temporary workers remain in jobs as they would not be entitled to the same equal rights as permanent staff after just 12 weeks in the job.

Last week, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) warned thousands of jobs would be at risk when the AWD comes into force, expected to be by December 2011.