The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 (“the Act”) introduces a new statutory right for workers to request a predictable work pattern.
It applies to workers such as zero hours and casual workers whose existing working patterns lack certainty in terms of the hours they work or times they work, and to those on a fixed-term contract of 12 months or less.
The Act has received Royal Assent and is expected to come into force in September 2024.
Key points to note are:
- The qualifying period is expected to be 26 weeks of service, however, workers will not have had to work continuously during that period.
- The right 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.
- As an employer, you will be required to deal with any request reasonably and notify the worker of your decision within one month.
- Requests may be refused on one of a series of specified grounds that are similar to those which apply to statutory flexible working requests e.g. burden of additional costs, detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff or other aspects of the employer’s business, or there is insufficient work during the period the worker has asked to work or planned structural changes.
- A maximum of two applications will be allowed during any 12-month period.
- If a request is granted by the employer, the new terms must be offered within two weeks of granting the request.
A draft Code of Practice which will be produced by Acas will be available for public consultation in the coming weeks and will provide guidance on how to handle any requests for a predictable work pattern from employees.
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