Predictable working patterns – new legislation

At present, workers and agency workers do not have a statutory right to request a more predictable working pattern. The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 has now received Royal Assent. This legislation will introduce a new statutory right for workers to request a more predictable working pattern in certain circumstances. We expect it to come into force in Autumn 2024

The right to request a predictable working pattern 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); and/or
  • Agency workers (who can make their request either to the agency or the hirer provided they meet certain qualifying conditions)

A worker is likely to need 26 weeks’ service to qualify, although those weeks will not need to be continuous. Two applications can be made in any 12-month period. Such application must specify the change required and the date it should take effect.

Employers will be required to deal with any requests in a reasonable manner and notify the worker within one month. Requests may be refused on any of several specified grounds set out in the legislation. These include:

  • The burden of additional costs;
  • There being insufficient work during the periods the worker has asked to work;
  • A detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand or on other aspects of the employer’s business; or
  • A detrimental impact on recruitment of staff.

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.

Meanwhile, ACAS has published a draft Code of Practice on handling requests under the new legislation which is open for public consultation until January 2024.

Please contact our employment team on 01204 527777 or if you require any advice or assistance.