The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 was given Royal Assent on 18 September 2023. This groundbreaking legislation will give all workers, including those on zero-hours or temporary contracts, the legal right to request a predictable working pattern. It is expected to affect approximately one million workers across the UK.
The Business and Trade Minister, Mr Kevin Hollinrake, has said that the new measures are “good for British business” as well as for workers. He explained that “where requests are accepted, workers will have more predictable terms and conditions that better suit their individual circumstances, leading to higher job satisfaction. This can lead to a range of benefits for businesses, including better staff retention as a worker will not need to look for a new role to secure a working pattern to meet their needs.”
Under the new Act, workers will be able to formally apply to change their working pattern to make it more predictable if their existing pattern lacks certainty in respect of the hours they work, or the times they work, or if it is a fixed-term contract for less than twelve months.
Employers will have to notify the worker of their decision within one month of the worker’s application. Refusal is permitted provided it is on one of the prescribed grounds which mirror the grounds for refusing a flexible working request, namely:
- Additional cost;
- Ability to meet customer demand;
- Impact on recruitment;
- Impact on other areas of the business;
- Insufficiency of work during the proposed periods; and
- Planned structural changes.
It is anticipated that twenty-six weeks of service will be needed before a request can be made, however, this will need to be confirmed by the regulations.
The measures in the Act and secondary legislation are expected to come into force in approximately a year. ACAS will produce a new Code of Practice to provide further guidance on making and handling requests to assist employers in managing this new right. The draft of the Code of Practice will be available for public consultation this autumn.
Key benefits of the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023
The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 is a significant piece of legislation that will have a positive impact on the lives of millions of workers. It will give workers greater control over their working lives, making it easier for them to balance their work and personal commitments. The Act is also expected to benefit businesses by improving staff retention and morale.
What does this mean for workers?
The Act gives workers a greater say in their working patterns, which can improve their work-life balance and overall wellbeing. For example, workers with young children may be able to request more predictable working hours so that they can better manage their childcare commitments. Workers with other caring responsibilities or health conditions may also benefit from having a more predictable work pattern.
How will the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 impact employers?
Employers will need to be prepared to receive and consider requests from workers for more predictable work patterns. They should also be aware of the prescribed grounds for refusing a request, and be able to justify any refusal on one of these grounds.
The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 is a significant piece of legislation that will give workers greater control over their work patterns. Employers should start to prepare for the implementation of the Act by reviewing their current working practices and policies. Feel free to contact our solicitors if you need legal advice in this regard.
Nicholas Febrer is a employment law solicitor here at DPH Legal. Nicholas has experience with a range of contentious and non-contentious employment disputes. Acting on behalf of employer clients, he advises on business immigration, redundancy situations, and consultancy agreements as well as regularly drafting employment contracts, settlement agreements, staff handbooks, and letters to employees engaged in disciplinary proceedings. Nicholas is a member of The Law Society and The SRA. To contact Nicholas, visit the Contact Us page. For media enquiries: email@example.com