Amendments to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (“the Conduct Regulations”) came into effect on 8 May 2016, making changes to the regulation of businesses within the recruitment industry. Some of the changes made are set out below. By way of reminder, the term “employment business” refers to a recruitment company supplying agency workers and the term “employment agency” refers to a recruitment company introducing candidates for direct engagement by an end-user/client.
Restricting recruitment of work-seekers from outside Great Britain
The government has for some time been concerned that recruitment companies were advertising jobs based in Great Britain in other EEA countries, without giving workers in Great Britain the opportunity to apply. With effect from January 2015, it prohibited the advertising of a vacant position the duties of which are ordinarily to be performed in Great Britain in an EEA state other than the United Kingdom, unless one of the following conditions applies: (i) the recruitment company had advertised the vacancy in English in Great Britain at the same time as it advertises the vacancy in the other EEA state; or (ii) it had advertised the vacancy in English in Great Britain in the period of 28 days ending with the day on which it advertises the vacancy in the other EEA state.
Breach of the prohibition is a criminal offence and may also give rise to an action in damages.
With effect from 8 May 2016, this prohibition has been further extended and now bans recruitment companies from publishing a "relevant recruitment advertisement" in an EEA state other than the United Kingdom, unless the advertisement is published in English in Great Britain at the same time as it publishes the advertisement or it has been advertised in English in Great Britain in the period of 28 days ending with the day on which it advertises the vacancy in the other EEA state.
The prohibition is therefore extended to generic advertising (i.e. which does not relate to an actual vacancy) elsewhere in the EEA.
Removing requirement to enter into written terms with hirers
Regulation 17 of the Conduct Regulations which required employment businesses to enter into written terms and conditions with their end-users/clients before supplying any services has been removed. The reasoning is that this was overly burdensome and the conclusion of an appropriate contract between two businesses is a matter for the parties involved, not legislation.
Regulation 23 previously prevented an employment businesses or agencies to enter into a contract with another employment business or agency unless it had made enquiries to ascertain that the other company was suitable to act in their intended capacity and they had “agreed in what capacity each of them will act.” This restriction has been removed with effect from 8 May 2016.
Regulation 9, which restricted recruitment companies from purporting to act on a different basis, e.g. telling work-seekers that they are an employment agency, while telling the hirer that they are an employment business, has also been removed.
Regulation 11, which restricted the ability of recruitment companies from entering into a contract on behalf of a hirer or a work seeker (other than in specified circumstances), has been removed.
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