The overall regulatory outlook for the staffing industry for the next six-month period is negative in 13 countries, according to the World Employment Confederation’s “Staffing Executive Regulatory Outlook” report.

The Outlook is a bi-annual poll of top executives of national staffing federations around the world, who assess the likelihood and potential impact of regulatory changes.

Respondents cited assignment length limits in Sweden and statutory sick pay in Ireland as areas negatively affecting the use of contingent labor in certain countries. Meanwhile, respondents expressed optimism in countries such as Italy, where a new government may change recent reforms that shortened maximum assignment lengths, among other rules.

Negative impacts. As of September 2021, agency work is no longer allowed in Mexico. Agency work can nevertheless continue operating in the so called “specialized services,” which are outside the core activity of the user company.

Meanwhile, respondents expected regulatory changes in European countries to have a negative effect on the use of contingent labor, such as:

  • A new regulation on maximum length of assignment in Sweden
  • A new regulation on statutory sick pay and pensions in Ireland
  • Discussions and possible regulation on the overall protection of agency workers covered by collective labor agreements in Germany, linked to the EU Court of Justice proceeding
  • Discussions on the use of agency work in the healthcare sector in both Denmark and France
  • A new law entering into force in Norway on maximum length of assignment and a regional ban in the construction sector

Positive impacts. Meanwhile, in four of the 24 surveyed countries, respondents anticipate regulatory changes that will have an overall strong and positive impact on the sector:

  • In the Netherlands, a reform of the complementary pension scheme for agency workers based on a collective labor agreement is about to enter into force, which is assessed positively.
  • In Spain, social dialogue is driving new opportunities such as stronger involvement of the sector in labor market policies.
  • In the UK, the positive outlook is based on the fact that the new British prime minister is taking a more cautious and slower approach after Brexit in revoking UK laws that were based on EU directives.
  • In Italy, the newly elected government has put forward a promising program that might lead to making positive changes to the most recent reform, Dignity Decree, which had restricted assignment length to 24 months from 36 and reduced the number of times assignments could be renewed to four from five, among other restrictions.

The WEC also noted that in seven countries, the impact of changes in regulation is expected to be neutral overall.