Workers gain right to request more predictable hours

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Workers across the UK will have more say over their working patterns as new laws come into effect.

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act, brought forward by Blackpool South MP Scott Benton and Baroness Anderson and supported by the Government, gives all workers the legal right to request a predictable working pattern.

Individuals on atypical contracts - including those on zero hours contracts – stand most to benefit. The laws could also encourage such workers to begin conversations with their employers.

Acas is producing a new Code of Practice on making and handling requests to help workers and businesses understand the law and have constructive discussions around working arrangements.

Acas Chief Executive Susan Clews commented: “Many workers will have the right to request more predictability around their working pattern should they wish to.”

Individuals on atypical contracts - including those on zero hours contracts – stand most to benefit from the new Act introduced in September. Photograph: iStock

The Act is part of a package of Private Member Bills the government has backed over the last few months. These include offering pregnant women and new parents greater protection against redundancy and entitling employees who are also unpaid carers to a period of unpaid leave. In July, workers were also given a day one right to request flexible working.

However, Christopher Hitchins, employment lawyer at Katten UK commented that a right to request is not the same as an “outright right”: “This change in the law is another tinkering to address the new types of working patterns that are associated with the “gig economy”, to try to give workers a bit more certainty over their hours of work and income.

“This new law is another “right to request” – like the right to request flexible working from day one, which is due to come in some time in 2024 - which can be turned down by an employer with appropriate reasoning, not an outright right.”

Government announcement on the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act here


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