Rights to Request Predictable Working Patterns

The government is introducing new laws to enforce a statutory right for workers to request a more predictable working pattern, due to come into effect in around September 2024.

To exercise this statutory right, a worker must have worked for their employer at least once in the month within the 26 weeks leading up to the day of the request. This ensures that the request is made by an employee with a recent and ongoing connection to the workplace.

A noteworthy inclusion in this upcoming legislation is the provision for workers on fixed-term contracts lasting 12 months or less. In such cases where the contract lacks predictability, the worker has the right to make a statutory request for a longer fixed-term contract or even a permanent one, provided they meet the criteria.

When initiating a statutory request, the worker is required to submit a written request to their employer. This request must include crucial information such as the date of submission, a clear statement outlining it as a statutory request for a predictable working pattern, details explaining the desired change to the working pattern, and the proposed effective date. Additionally, if the worker has made previous requests for a predictable working pattern or flexible working, this information should be explicitly mentioned.

Employers have a pivotal role in this process, and their procedures for handling requests should be designed to communicate explicitly with workers. Clear communication ensures that workers are well-informed about the information required for a statutory request, promoting transparency and expediting the decision-making process.

Looking ahead, workers will be entitled to make up to two statutory requests for a predictable working pattern within any 12-month period. However, it’s crucial to note that only one request can be considered “live” at any given time. A request remains “live” until the employer makes a decision, the worker withdraws the request, a mutually agreed outcome is reached, or the statutory one-month decision period concludes.

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 is part of a group of laws supported by the government to strengthen workers’ rights in the UK. These laws include paid leave for parents of newborns in neonatal care, ensuring workers receive their full tips, extra protection for pregnant women and new parents against job loss, unpaid leave for employees who are also unpaid carers, and granting millions of workers the right to request flexible working from day one. These measures aim to enhance the flexibility of the job market, giving businesses confidence to create jobs and invest in their workforce for long-term economic growth.

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