New legislation which introduces a new statutory right for workers to request a more predictable working pattern has received Royal Assent and is expected to come into force in September 2024. This legislation is the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023.
Acas will be producing a draft Code of Practice for consultation in the Autumn which will provide guidance on how to handle requests.
The right will likely apply to the following categories of worker:-
- 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 criteria).
Other important points to note:
- The qualifying period is likely to be 26 weeks’ service. However, the weeks do not need to be continuous.
- The application must specify the change being applied for and the date the individual would like it to take effect. The requested predictability could relate to period of engagement, hours of work and/or days of work.
- A maximum of 2 applications can be made in any 12 month period.
- Employers will be required to notify the worker of the decision within one month and deal with the request in a ‘reasonable manner’.
- Requests may be refused on any of several specified grounds. There are currently six listed in the Act, including there being insufficient work during the periods the worker has asked to work or the burden of additional costs.
- The Secretary of State reserves the right to add more grounds to refuse applications.
- 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.
If you have any questions or require further guidance, please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Team at [email protected].
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