United Kingdom – The New Predictable Working Act

What’s new?

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill 2023 (the “Act”) recently achieved Royal Assent, and is expected to come into force in Autumn 2024. Under the Act, employers will be required to consider workers’ requests to have a more predictable working pattern. The new regime will be similar to that for flexible working, and is intended to grant workers more control over their working schedules.

Who can make a predictable working request?

Workers can request that their working pattern is made more predictable if their current working pattern (including by reference to the number of hours, days of work, times of work or length of contract) is unpredictable (such as workers on fixed term contracts of 12 months or less). Future regulations are expected to provide further detail on the Act, including the minimum length of service workers must have before they can make a request. On their request, the worker must set out the change they are requesting and the date they would like such change(s) to be effective from.

How should employers respond to a predictable working request?

Employers must deal with a request in a reasonable manner and notify the worker of their decision within one month. Employers will only be able to reject requests for a reason specified in the Act, including where granting the request would increase costs for the employer, where there is insufficient work for the employee during the hours/days they are proposing to work and where it would detrimentally effect the employer’s business. Employers could face an Employment Tribunal claim if they fail to deal with requests in line with the Act.

Acas will be releasing a new code of practice containing guidance on how employers should deal with predictable working requests.

So, what should employers do now?

Employers should familiarise themselves with the new Act (and applicable Acas guidance) and take preparatory steps to ensure they are ready for its implementation next autumn, including reviewing/updating relevant employment policies and procedures and associated documentation.

If you need any support with this, or would like any further information, please get in touch with a member of the MDR ONE team.

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