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New law gives workers more control over working patterns

October 12th 2023

A new law is set to give millions of workers more control over their working hours and employment patterns.

Joanne Stronach Director and Head of Employment & HR provides an update.

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill, which received the Royal Assent in September, is designed to help people on atypical contracts – including those on zero hours contracts.

It introduces a right for workers to request a more predictable working pattern and redress the imbalance of power between some employers and workers in atypical work.

Business and Trade Minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “Although zero hours contracts can often suit workers who want to work flexibly and employers whose needs vary, it is unfair for anyone to have to put their lives on hold to make themselves available for shifts that may never actually come – this Act helps to end the guessing game.

“If a worker’s existing working pattern lacks certainty in terms of the hours they work, the times they work or if it is a fixed term contract for less than 12 months, they will be able to make a formal application to change their working pattern to make it more predictable.

“Once a worker has made their request, their employer will be required to notify them of their decision within one month.”

Acas is producing a new Code of Practice to provide guidance on making and handling requests. Acas Chief Executive Susan Clews said: “Our draft Code will be available for public consultation in the coming weeks, and we encourage all interested parties to respond and let us know their views.”

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 was brought forward by Blackpool South MP Scott Benton and Baroness Anderson. It was supported by the Government.

If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law please contact Joanne on 01228 516666 or click here to send her an email. 

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