When asked how aware they were of the AWR, more than a third of contractors answered ‘a little’ with almost half saying they were ‘unsure’ what the regulations entailed, while only 18 per cent of those questioned said they were ‘very’ aware of the AWR.
The EU-inspired regulations are aimed at providing similar rights for temporary and agency as those given to employees. Anyone working in genuine 'business on their own account' relationship, such as contractors, are exempt from the regulations which might go some way to explaining the lack of detailed awareness among some freelancers.
The research by contractor service providers, the ICS, showed that despite the work of recruitment agencies to ensure that they would comply with the regulations, 69 per cent of contractors reported that they have had no contact with their agency over the last year in regards to the AWR. A further 29 per cent reported minimal contact whilst only two per cent of contractors said they had been in regular touch.
Although the information level might be low, there was little reported disruption for contractors with more than three quarters experiencing no problems with their contract, and less than one in ten having to make a change.
ICS said the survey showed a common theme within the general responses from recruitment agencies with the words likes ‘complicated’, ‘unnecessary’ and ‘interfering’ recurring.
ICS’ Managing Director John Lyon said: “Given that a lot of the preparation and build up to the AWR last October was to do with awareness, it is surprising to see so many contractors are still not aware of the regulations.
“A lot of the initial concern about potential problems with contracts was dealt with before it became an issue, and the implementation was smooth. We do not predict the situation to become any worse, especially as we are now much more familiar with the regulations a year on.”
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2012