The government has given its backing to another Private Members’ Bill that is currently before Parliament. The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons on 3 February 2023 and has now been referred to a Public Bill Committee which will meet to consider it on a date yet to be announced. 

If enacted, the Bill will insert provisions into the Employment Rights Act 1996 to introduce a new statutory right for workers and agency workers to request a predictable working pattern. The proposed new law is intended to combat “one-sided flexibility”, where workers are left on standby for shifts that never materialise. If a worker’s existing working pattern lacks certainty in terms of the hours they work, the times they work or if it is a fixed term contract for less than twelve months, they will be able to make a formal application to change their working pattern to make it more predictable. Workers will be able to make up to two requests per year, but employers will have the option to refuse a request on specific grounds, such as the burden of additional costs to make changes, or there being insufficient work at times when the worker proposes to work. The provisions will also:

  • set out the eligibility criteria for exercising the right to request a more predictable working pattern
  • set out duties on employers, agencies and hirers when an application for a predictable working pattern is made 
  • set out the circumstances under which a worker may make a complaint to an employment tribunal and the remedies an employment tribunal may award.

This measure had been expected to be included in a new Employment Bill, but that Bill was omitted from the Queen’s Speech in May 2022.

Source: New feed