The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 was passed on 18 September 2023, and introduces a new statutory right for workers to request a more predictable working pattern.  This act is not yet in force, and is expected to come into force in September 2024, giving employers a year to prepare for this change.

The new right will apply to workers (not only employees) whose existing working patterns lack certainty in terms of the hours or times they work.

It will also apply to those on a fixed-term contract of 12 months or less.

The qualifying service period for this right is expected to be 26 weeks. However workers will not need to have worked continuously during that period.

The new law will also apply to agency workers who will be able to apply to either the temporary work agency or the hirer to request a more predictable working pattern, provided they meet certain qualifying conditions.

Employers will be required to deal with any requests in a reasonable manner, and to notify the worker of their decision within one month.

Requests may be refused on one of a series of specified grounds, including:

  1. the burden of additional costs,
  2. detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff or on other aspects of the employer’s business,
  3. there being insufficient work during the periods the worker has asked to work.

Each worker will be permitted a maximum of two applications during a 12-month rolling period.

We are awaiting secondary legislation for some of the finer details.

ACAS will also be producing a new Code of Practice that will provide guidance on how to make and handle requests for a more predictable working pattern. This draft ACAS Code of Practice will be available for public consultation ‘in the coming weeks’.

Employers with employees and workers on zero hours contracts, agency workers and/or staff on short fixed-term contracts should be aware of this upcoming change.

 

Please contact Kate Lawson (katelawson@elementlaw.co.uk) if you have any questions, or may require specific assistance in this area over the coming months and particularly once we have the secondary legislation and ACAS Code of Practice.