Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023
As part of the government’s efforts to improve working conditions for casual labourers, the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 was given Royal Assent on 18 September 2023. It is expected to come into force around September 2024.
This Act will allow certain types of workers, including agency workers, those with irregular hours, and those on fixed-terms contracts of 12 months or under, to request (but not necessarily to have) a more predictable working pattern or a longer contract. Knowing their hours and income in advance can have a positive effect on a worker’s work-life balance and finances.
Predictable working requests will be treated similarly to flexible working requests, in the following respects:
- Workers will need a minimum of 26 weeks’ service to be eligible to make such a request.
- Workers can make a maximum of two requests in any 12-month period. It seems that both flexible working requests and predictable working requests would be counted in this limit.
- Requests can only be turned down for specified reasons. The reasons to turn down a predictable working request may be amended by the government in future, but are currently the same as those permitted to turn down a flexible working request: additional cost, negative impact on ability to meet customer demand, negative effect on quality, negative effect on performance, inability to recruit more staff, inability to reorganise work among other staff, insufficiency of work during the proposed periods, and planned structural changes.
- If an organisation does not deal with the request properly, or if a worker is treated badly or dismissed because of their request, they may be able to bring a claim at an employment tribunal.
Predictable working requests will be treated differently to flexible working requests, in the following respects:
- Although workers will need a minimum of 26 weeks’ service to be eligible to make such a request, the 26 weeks of service would not have to be continuous.
- Organisations must deal with predictable hours requests within a month (as opposed to within three months for a flexible working request)
- More workers will be eligible to make a predictable working request, including casual workers and agency workers.
Organisations who rely heavily on casual workers and zero-hours employees, and those who see seasonal fluctuations in demand, are likely to be most affected by this change. However, the changes may not all be negative; workers who have more job security are likely to be happier at work, and more loyal.
ACAS is set to produce a code of practice in late 2023.
We will keep you updated on the above.