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Swedish derogation, zero hours contracts and access to Facebook

The first words I heard this morning were "Swedish derogation". It wasn't the best start to a day I've had recently but with no time machine available I was unable to pop back and fix it so I could wake up to a beautiful piece of music instead. Although I should perhaps change my radio alarm…

In any case, the Agency Workers Regulations were being discussed on BBC R4 this morning in relation to the story about Labour becoming "embroiled in a row with two of the UK's biggest retailers over claims they favoured Eastern European workers over Britons." The article I've linked to goes on to quote Peter Mooney from the Employment Law Advisory Services who "told 5 live the national minimum wage and agency worker regulations
applied to all EU citizens employed in the UK."

My
colleague Jeremy recently took part in a webinar run by the Recruitment &
Employment Confederation (REC) examining the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR)
and the Agency Conduct Regulations.  Two
years after its inception the AWR is under review by both the Department for
Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the European Commission.  The REC reported on concerns that the Swedish
derogation is being abused, as a result this portion of the regulations may be
curtailed.  The review of the Conduct
Regulations
has reached a half-way point and while it is apparent that work
needs to be done to bring umbrella companies and intermediaries into scope, so
far how this can be achieved is not quite so clear.

It's one of several work-related news stories that have popped into my life at random moments (outside work) recently. I'm a big fan of The News Quiz, also on R4, and in the 2nd August edition, they covered zero-hours contracts, with Sports Direct receiving special mention. There's a BBC news article which pulls together figures and stats from the Office of National Statistics and the CIPD.

Last but not least, a side-bar story that jumped out at me, admittedly after reading the one about whether or not Princess Kate is a Princess. I assumed she was. But also I now want my job title to be as fun as "Princess of the UK". This employment story is about the continuing (albeit not with reported regularity) desire for employers to demand access to their employees' Facebook accounts, this time in a row over sick leave.

– Suzanne

 

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