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The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 has passed: What it means for you

View profile for Chris Dobbs
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The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 has passed: What it means for you

There has been a move to increase certainty for workers for a long time under the previous administrations.

On the back of various case around the rights of zero-hours and gig economy workers, legislation has slowly made its way through parliament to introduce new statutory rights for workers to have more certainty around their work patterns.

In this article, Employment Associate Chris Dobbs outlines the key details of the new act and how it affects employers.

What is the right to request predictable work pattern?

Under the legislation, which received Royal Assent last week, workers who meet the following criteria:

  • Have an existing uncertain pattern in respect of days or hours worked;
  • Are on fixed-term contracts of less than 12 months with flexibility to extend or remove that fixed period;
  • Agency workers;
  • Who meet the qualifying period (likely to be 26 non-continuous weeks)

Will be able to make a request for:

  • A specific change to take effect from a specified date
  • Which provides more certainty as to working patterns in terms of days or hours worked
  • Or for a change to the period of engagement with the company

This request can be made up to twice in any 12-month period with an expectation that employers handle the request in a reasonable manner and respond within one month of receipt.

Responding to Requests

Acas will be producing a Code of Practice in due course however the legislation does allow for a variety of reasons for refusal which largely mirror those set out in current flexible working requests.

Where an employer allows the change, they will be expected to offer the new terms within two weeks.

The legislation specifically prohibits the employer from making other simultaneous detrimental changes to the workers other terms – i.e. they cannot make the agreement to more certainty on hours conditional on the worker accepting a lower rate of pay.

An Employment Solicitor’s View

Chris Dobbs said: “This legislation has been a long time coming and while it appears to make a fairly significant change to the idea of casual and zero-hours work patterns, the basis of it largely reflects current flexible working requests.

Both only grant the right to make the request and have it considered; not to have the change implemented and there are broad reasons for rejecting a request.”

How does it affect you?

“This is only likely to make a significant difference to a small number of workers who are engaged on irregular contracts but who want or need the benefit of more certainty in a situation where it can actually be offered.” Chris continues.

“For employers, do be aware that failing to properly consider the request can give rise to legal claims in the same way as a failure to properly consider flexible working requests. There would also be scope for discrimination claims where the reason for the request is connected to a protected characteristic such as disability or childcare commitments.”

Employment & HR Solicitors

Our bright Employment Team has a vast experience in advising employers in cases of all kinds.

We’d be happy to provide tailored advice and assist you in mitigating, preventing and fighting claims, such as unfair dismissal.

You can call us on 01202 499255, or fill out the form at the top of this page, for a free initial appointment.

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The content of this article, blog or video is not intended as specific legal advice. For tailored assistance, please contact a member of our team.