Companies employing highly paid IT contractors should be exempt from new legislation giving temporary workers the same rights as permanent workers, the association of professional staffing companies has said.
The association of professional staffing companies (APSCo) said anyone earning more than three times the minimum wage doesn't need the protection the Agency Workers Directive is designed to give.
Instead, it says the new legislation will actually make it harder for contractors to get work, because their potential employer's costs will be increased by the law's requirements. The directive is currently in the consultation phase.
Under APSCo's proposals, those earning £17.40 per hour or £33,930 a year will be outside the legislation.
The Agency Workers' Directive will entitle temporary workers who have worked with the same company for at least 12 weeks to treatment equal to that received by permanent workers. The meaning of "equal treatment" has not yet been precisely defined but it will include equal pay, access to training and notice of termination.
The aim of the directive is to increase the protection of vulnerable workers, but APSCo argues that well-paid, professional contractors don't need this protection.
Chief executive Ann Swain said: "We feel that three times the national minimum wage is about the right income level for the exclusion. It would mean about 90% of workers placed by APSCo members are outside the scope of the legislation.
"The kind of business professionals placed by APSCo members are highly-skilled, highly-paid individuals who cannot be considered vulnerable workers. Their inclusion in this legislation would significantly add to the costs to end-users of using these workers, thereby damaging their employment prospects."