NEWS & RESOURCES

The right to request predictable terms and conditions

Introduction to the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 is expected to come into force later this year, likely around September/October. When introduced, this Act will give employees the right to request more predictable terms and conditions of employment.

Pre-Implementation Consultation and Legislation for Predictable Terms and Conditions

Prior to the enforcement of the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act, a public consultation on a new draft Acas Code of Practice and the necessary secondary legislation must be completed. The public consultation on the new Acas draft Code of Practice concluded at the end of January. Acas is currently analysing the feedback received and will soon publish an official response along with the final version of the Code of Practice.

Key Features of the Predictable Terms and Conditions Legislation

As it stands, what we know of the new law, and guidance set out in the draft Code of Practice is as follows:

  • All workers (which means all employees, agency workers, casual staff) will have a statutory right to request more predictable terms and conditions of work where there is a lack of predictability in their work pattern.
  • The draft Regulations define the work pattern as being either the number of hours worked, the days of the week worked and the times on those days worked and the period for which the worker is contracted to work.
  • Where someone is on a fixed term contract that is less than 12 months in duration, they will be able to request predictable terms and conditions associated to the duration of the contract that would result in either a longer contract or would remove a provision restricting the duration.
  • An employer will be required to deal with the application in a reasonable manner and within one month beginning with the date on which the application is made.
  • The worker must be notified of the decision within the decision period and may only reject for one (or more of the following reasons):
    • The burden of additional costs
    • The detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand
    • Detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff
    • Detrimental impact on other aspects of the employer’s business
    • Insufficiency of work during the periods the worker is proposing to work
    • Planned structural changes
    • Such other grounds as the Regulations may state

Impact on employment practices

When introduced, this new entitlement will be a significant development for those employers who employ workers on zero-hour contracts, fixed term contracts, or workers on a casual basis or agency workers.

The draft Code of Practice provides guidance that is very similar to how employers are expected to manage flexible working requests (reasonable timeframe, reasonable process, statutory reasons for declining). You can read the draft Code here.

Future Updates

Once the formal response to the consultation on the draft Code is published, updates on the implementation of the predictable terms and conditions Act will be provided.

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