The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 amends the existing regime set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996 and will give workers with a minimum qualifying period of service (likely to be 26 weeks although this does not have to be continuous), whose working patterns lack predictability in hours or times and/or are on fixed-term contracts of 12 months of less the right to request a more predictable working pattern.

A request must relate to the workers’ ‘work pattern’ and may include details regarding the number of hours the worker works, the times and days of the week and the length of the contract. Employers must deal with requests in a reasonable manner and notify Workers of their decision within one month. As with flexible working requests, Employers can refuse a request on one of the specified statutory grounds for example, the burden of additional costs. A failure to do so may entitle the Worker to bring a claim resulting in an order for reconsideration of the application or compensation.

The changes are likely to have a considerable impact on the fashion and retail industries, where shift patterns vary as rotas change, and where work and employment contracts are frequently very casual in nature. Employers in the retail industry should therefore familiarise themselves with the new requirements and consider putting in place their own internal policies setting out how they will manage predictable working requests. ACAS will shortly be publishing a new Code of Practice including guidance on how to make and deal with a request which Employers should take into consideration.