The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 has received Royal Assent and is expected to come into force in September 2024. It introduces a new statutory right for workers to request a more predictable working pattern.
Key points to note include:
- The qualifying period is likely to be 26 weeks’ service although those weeks will not need to be continuous.
- The right will apply to the following:
- workers whose existing working patterns lack certainty in terms of the hours or times they work;
- workers on fixed-term contracts of 12 months or less (who are able to request a longer fixed-term or the removal of any provisions relating to fixed-term);
- agency workers (who can make their request either to the agency or the hirer provided they meet certain qualifying conditions)
- A maximum of 2 applications can be made in any 12-month period
- The application must specify the change being applied for and the date it should take effect. The requested predictability could relate to hours of work, days of work or period of engagement.
- Employers will be required to deal with any requests in a reasonable manner and notify the worker of their decision within one month.
- Requests may be refused on any of several specified grounds. There are currently six listed in the Act, including the burden of additional costs or there being insufficient work during the periods the worker has asked to work. The Secretary of State reserves the right to add more grounds.
- If a request is granted then employers must offer the new terms within two weeks of granting the request. Employers cannot make detrimental changes to other contractual terms at the same time as making the changes required as a result of the approved request for predictability.
Acas will be producing a draft Code of Practice for consultation in the Autumn which will provide guidance on how to handle requests.