New right to request a predictable work pattern in the UK
27 February 2023 | Applicable law: England and Wales | 1 minute read
On 3 February 2023, the Government announced that it was backing the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill, a Private Member’s Bill.
The Bill aims to address the issue of one-sided flexibility in the contracts of zero-hours and casual workers by introducing a new statutory right for workers to request a more predictable working pattern. The right will apply to workers whose existing working patterns lack certainty in terms of the hours or times they work, and to those on a fixed-term contract of 12 months or less. The qualifying period is expected to be 26 weeks, but the Government’s press release announcing that it was backing the Bill emphasises that workers will not have had to have worked continuously during that period, as the aim of the new legislation is to support those with unpredictable contracts.
The new right will also apply to agency workers who meet certain qualifying conditions. They will be able to apply to either the temporary work agency or the hirer to request a more predictable working pattern.
Employers will be required to deal with any requests reasonably and notify the worker of their decision within one month. They will only be able to refuse a request on one of a series of specified grounds, such as the burden of additional costs or there being insufficient work during the periods the worker has asked to work. A worker will be able to make no more than two applications in any 12-month period. We will keep you updated as the Bill progresses through Parliament.