Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 (the “Act”) received royal assent on 19 September 2023. The Act will introduce new rights for individuals currently working atypical working patterns.

Its authors hope the Act will tackle some of the uncertainty often associated with the gig – economy and agency work. Recent estimates state almost half a million people work in the gig economy, and over 800,000 work as agency workers. CIPD and other organizations are advocating for changes in employment law to better protect casual and temporary workers.

The rights under the Act will apply to agency workers and to workers with unpredictable working arrangements. It will also apply to workers on fixed-term contracts of 12 months or less, or workers who have existing working patterns that lack certainty in terms of the hours or times they work.

The majority of the procedures for the implementation of the new right will be included in the secondary legislation. It is expected that there will be a qualifying period of at least 26 weeks similar to the current provisions around flexible working for a worker to be able to exercise rights under the Act. It is also expected that a worker will be permitted to make a request under the Act in relation to any of the following:

  • The hours they work;
  • The days of the week they work; and/or
  • The length of the contracts they are offered.

The goal will be to obtain a more predictable work pattern for that worker and remove some of the uncertainty associated with casual, zero-hour, and agency work.

A worker will be permitted to make 2 requests in any rolling 12-month period.

Employer’s will be required to deal with requests reasonably within a month. The Act only provides the right for an individual to make a request, it is not an automatic right to more predictable working arrangements, an employer will be able to refuse the request for the following reasons:

  • Burden of additional costs
  • Detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand.
  • Detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff
  • Detrimental impact of the temporary work on other aspects of the agency’s, hirer’s, or employer’s business
  • Insufficiency of work during the periods of work proposed
  • Planned structural changes

Similar to flexible working requests, workers will be able to bring a claim for breach of their rights under the Act. The regulations expected within the next twelve months will set out the specific levels of compensation a tribunal can award.

If the request is approved by an employer, they must offer the new terms within two weeks.

The Government expects the regulations that will give effect to the Act to be in place within 12 months of the Act receiving royal assent. Employer’s therefore have some time to prepare.

Employers with banks of casual or zero-hour workers, or who regularly use agency workers should begin to examine their long-term needs, consider the potential impact of these new rights and plan accordingly. The Geldards’ Employment Team will be available to assist clients in planning for this and any necessary workforce restructuring.

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