Members of the European Parliament also voted that comparable pay for temporary workers should be applied after six weeks of consistent work for an initial period of up to five years.
The Confederation of British Industry has condemned Members of the European Parliament for backing what it called 'inappropriate reforms' to the rules governing temporary workers.
It said it would continue to fight the proposals, which would be bad for UK businesses and those looking for employment.
Digby Jones, CBI Director-General, said: "While it is heartening to see some UK MEPs voting for a more globally competitive Europe, the majority of MEPs have followed outdated political dogma to deliver a serious blow to the UK labour market.
"The legislation will cause greater harm here because the UK has two thirds of all the agency workers in the EU. It is no coincidence that we also have the lowest unemployment. As many as 160,000 employment opportunities will be destroyed.
"We urge Ministers to mount the strongest possible campaign to get these proposals radically improved in the Council of Ministers. A six-week exemption is not enough: it should be 12-months. The world of work has changed and it is time Brussels caught up with the reality."
According to the CBI, the proposals would mean a serious fall in demand for agency workers because of the extra administrative burden on employers and the loss of all-important flexibility.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) joined in condemning the European Parliament's vote, saying much remained to be done if it is not to damage temporary work in the UK.
Tim Nicholson, REC's Chief Executive, said: "Whilst the European Parliament has accepted some of our recommendations the Directive in its current form would still be massively damaging to the UK economy. We will be pressing the Council of Ministers to amend the Directive further when it meets and extend the time period."
Ministers from all EU countries will discuss the proposals on December 3.
The proposed AWD seeks to give temporary workers rights to the same pay, pensions, holiday cover, health insurance, interest free loans, share schemes and other benefits as long-term employees doing comparable jobs.
People who work through agencies are currently only legally entitled to a minimum wage and a holiday allowance.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation said it believed freelancers who operate through Limited companies would be spared from the Agency Workers Directive after the European Parliament Commission vote last month.
Greece will decide how to take the Directive forward after it takes over the EU presidency on January 1.
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Richard Powell, © Shout99.com 2002