The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 has recently received Royal Assent.
The Act aims to improve flexibility by providing workers with a right to request more predictable terms and conditions of work.
Workers can make an application to request more predictable terms as long as there is a lack of predictability, the change relates to the worker’s working pattern, and the change is intended to achieve a more predictable pattern of work.
The worker must identify that they’re applying for predictable terms and conditions, as well as stating the requested change and the proposed date of effect.
Similar to the current flexible working request process, once an application is submitted, it is then the employer’s responsibility to respond to the application in a reasonable manner and inform the worker within the decision period, which will be one month from receiving the application.
Employers can only reject an application if one or more of the following conditions apply, as outlined under the Employment Rights Act 2010:
- There would be a burden of additional costs;
- There would be a detrimental effect in being able to meet customer demand;
- There would be a detrimental impact on staff recruitment;
- There would be a detrimental effect on other aspects of the employer’s business;
- There would be an insufficiency of work at the times proposed by the worker;
- There are planned structural changes; and
- Based on such other grounds as outlined in regulations by the Secretary of State.
However, there will be minimum requirements to apply for such a request.
While not yet confirmed, it is expected that workers will be required to have 26 weeks of continuous service.
Furthermore, workers will only be able to make two statutory applications in any 12-month period.
The provisions are not expected to come into force until September 2024, and in the meantime, Acas are working to produce a new code of practice with guidance for employers on how to manage these requests.
Consultations are scheduled to end on the 17th of January 2024.
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