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Member Briefing: The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill has received Royal Assent and will soon become legislation.


Fundamentally, the Bill gives workers and agency workers the right to request more predictable terms and conditions of work, giving individuals on atypical contracts – including those on zero hours contracts – more predictable working hours.

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 12 months, they will be able to make a formal application to change their working pattern to make it more predictable. Once a worker has made their request, their employer will be required to notify them of their decision within one month.

However, there are conditions under which this request can be rejected:

  • A worker can only make a request if they were employed by the same employer in the month immediately preceding their application.
  • There are also restrictions on making multiple applications. These are, no more than two applications to be made in any 12-month period and no new applications while an earlier application is proceeding. Employers must handle these applications reasonably and provide reasons for rejection, which are limited to certain grounds:
    • 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 the periods the worker proposes to work
    • planned structural changes, and
    • such other grounds as the Secretary of State may specify by regulations.

If an employer grants the application, they must offer a new contract that is not less favourable than the previous one and reflect the change relating to the worker’s work pattern that was applied for.

Workers have the right to appeal rejections, with decisions during the appeal process being considered final. The decision period for an application is one month, and the offer period for a new contract is two weeks. Workers may have their application treated as withdrawn if they fail to attend relevant meetings without good reason and are notified of this by the employer.

Next steps:

The measures in the Act and secondary legislation will come into force in approximately a year, giving employers time to prepare for the changes.

Acas is preparing a new statutory Code of Practice to help workers and businesses understand the law and to provide guidance on how requests should be made and considered.

We will continue to monitor the legislation and work with officials to ensure fair and appropriate wording of the legislation. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.