October 30, 2023
By Owen John
What will change?
The Act will give workers a new statutory right to request a more predictable working pattern. Workers will be able to apply to their employer (or to their hiring business if they’re an agency worker) for a change to their working pattern to give them more predictability in terms of hours and income.
This process is similar to the right to make a flexible working request, in that requests must be made in writing, need to be dealt with under a similar process, and may only be refused on one of a series of specified grounds.
The right will apply to the following:
Workers can make a maximum of 2 applications in any 12-month period. The request could relate to hours of work, days of work or the length of their contract.
What does this Act mean for employers?
Employers will likely deal with such requests in the same way as they deal with existing flexible working requests. Employers should bear in mind that the Act does not provide a guaranteed right to predictable working, but a right to request predictable working, and they should deal with the application within one month of receiving it. Employers will be able to refuse the request for one or more of the following six grounds:
Employers should keep in mind that workers can complain to the Employment Tribunal if their request is not dealt with in accordance with the new rules, including where the employer fails to deal with a request in a reasonable manner or rejects an application based on incorrect facts.
In terms of the process for dealing and deciding upon requests, ACAS is currently drawing up guidance on how this should be done but it is likely to involve holding a hearing with the worker, confirming the decision in writing, and granting the right of appeal.
Watch this space for further updates in due course.
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