People on zero-hours contracts can expect more predictable working hours if they choose, after the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill was given Royal Assent on 19 September 2023.
What is the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill?
The bill will give all workers the right to request a predictable working pattern, effectively meaning that those on zero-hours contracts or other atypical contracts will receive more predictable working hours on request.
How will this work in practice?
In practice, if a worker’s existing pattern lacks certainty in hours, or if they are on a fixed-term contract for less than 12 months, they can make a formal application to request a change to their working pattern to one which is more predictable.
An employer then has one month to decide and can refuse on one of six statutory grounds (although the Regulations could add to these):
- The burden of additional costs;
- A detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand;
- A detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff;
- A detrimental impact on other aspects of the employer’s business;
- Insufficiency of work during the periods the worker proposes to work; or
- Planned structural changes.
ACAS is producing a new Code of Practice that will provide clear guidance on making and handling requests.
How valuable are these changes?
These changes are valuable to those who struggle to predict their income due to varied working hours and shifts.
But it is important for us to bear in mind that, for some, zero-hours contracts (and the ability to refuse hours, when offered) is a helpful way for individuals to structure their working arrangements.
For this reason, the proposed rights (rather than a more extreme approach of banning zero-hours contracts) are a good balance between control and continued flexibility.
This law is expected to come into effect in 2024, approximately one year after Royal Assent.
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Please note this blog is for reference purposes only and is only accurate at which the date it was published. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any actions. Please contact us if you have any questions on email@example.com.