Greater Predictability Proposed for Workers and Agency Workers

Caroline Cobain
Caroline Cobain
Legal Director
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On 3 February 2023, the Government announced that it would support the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill, a Private Members Bill that is being sponsored by Scott Benton MP aiming to deliver greater predictability for workers. This was one of the key recommendations of the Taylor Review in 2017 and was intended to address the issue of “one-sided flexibility”, where a worker has no guarantee of work but is expected to be available for work at short notice.

The Bill gives workers and agency workers the statutory right to request a predictable work pattern where:

  • There is a lack of predictability in relation to their working pattern (this will be assumed to be the case for fixed term contracts of 12 months or less).
  • The change relates to their work pattern.
  • Their purpose in applying for the change is to get a more predictable work pattern.

This law is likely to be of particular benefit to zero hours workers and casual workers, who are not guaranteed any particular amount of work by their employer.

Workers and agency workers will be permitted to make two applications to vary their terms and conditions in any 12 month period. Workers will also be protected from suffering any detriment as a result of making an application.

Employers will have a legal obligation to deal with any applications in a reasonable manner, which will typically involve holding at least one meeting with the worker in order to discuss the application with them. Employers will then be required to notify the worker of their decision, which must be issued within one month of the application.

Employers will only be able to reject a statutory application if one or more of the following six statutory grounds apply:

  • The burden of additional costs.
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.
  • Detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff.
  • Detrimental impact on other aspects of the employer’s business.
  • Insufficiency of work during periods the worker proposes to work.
  • Planned structural changes.

Employers who have dealt with statutory flexible working requests will already be familiar with aspects of the above and it is expected that the process for making a statutory request for a predictable work pattern will be broadly similar.

We will be keeping a close eye on progression of the Bill through Parliament, and we will update you on any further developments, and what they may mean for you as an employer, as they happen.

If you would like to discuss this development, or if we can support you on any other employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team on 0141 331 5150.



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