Taylor recommends abolishing Swedish Derogation

The ‘Swedish Derogation’ clause in the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) should be abolished, under a recommendation by the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.

The so-called Swedish Derogation clause puts in place ‘pay between assignments’ terms for agency workers instead of pay equity.

Speaking yesterday at an exclusive press roundtable to discuss the Review, published on Tuesday (11 July), panel chair Matthew Taylor reinforced the sweeping report’s finding that the Swedish Derogation was being abused, and added that its abolition would be welcomed by many recruiters.

Taylor told Recruiter that “a lot of recruitment agencies” had contacted the Taylor Review panel privately during its explorations to say they did not like the Swedish Derogation, but were being asked by employers to implement it.

“Getting rid of it may add a few burdens” to administrative issues for some, Taylor said, but would address a more important, larger issue. “Flexibility can be found without the Swedish Derogation,” he added.

Under Swedish Derogation terms of contract, the ‘pay between assignments’ option is intended to remove the requirement to pay agency workers who have been on an assignment for 12 weeks equally to staff doing the same job.  

The review report said: “There have been numerous examples cited of agency workers forced to accept these contracts either at the start of an assignment or after 11 weeks. While this is unlawful, it is clearly happening.”

During the hour-long meeting, Taylor hit back at claims that the Review had not gone far enough in its recommendations, terming the report “radical” with “good proposals”.

Serving on the panel with Taylor were Paul Broadbent, CEO of the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority; Greg Marsh, investor and entrepreneur; and Diane Nicol, partner in employment law at law firm Pinsent Masons.

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