On the horizon – The new right to request a more predictable working pattern

Thursday 30th May 2024

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 was given royal assent on 18 September 2023 and creates a new statutory right for certain workers to request a more predictable working pattern. It is important for employers to be aware of the changes that are expected to come into force this September 2024.

  • The Act aims to address the issue of ‘one-sided flexibility’ whereby workers are not guaranteed work but are expected to be available at short notice with a lack of reciprocity. It will amend the Employment Rights Act 1996 to give workers and agency workers the right to request a predictable work pattern if they meet the following criteria:
    • Minimum length of service: to be specified in regulations, but the stated intention is for this to be 26 weeks’ continuous service.
    • Lack of predictability: if there is a lack of predictability as regards any part of the worker’s work pattern (e.g. if they are on a zero hours’ contract and do not have a guaranteed number of hours). Fixed term contracts of 12 months or less are presumed to lack predictability.
    • Work pattern: the requested change relates to their ‘work pattern’, such as the number of hours the worker works, the days of the week and times the worker works and the length of the worker’s contract.
  • Purpose of request: the worker’s purpose in applying is to get a more predictable work pattern.

Workers can make a maximum of two applications in any 12-month period.

The application must be in writing, state that it is a statutory predictable working application, and specify the change applied for and the date on which it is proposed it should take effect. This limit includes any flexible working applications asking for a change in terms and conditions which would have the effect of delivering a more predictable working pattern.

In a similar approach to the flexible working regime, the employer/ hirer will be able to reject the worker’s application on statutory grounds and reasons.

As for risk, a worker will be able to bring a claim relating to the employer’s procedural failings and/or if they suffer a detriment or are dismissed because of their request.


The Draft Code of Practice on handling requests for a predictable working pattern published by ACAS is a useful guidance ahead of the Act coming into force.

For any further guidance or assistance on updating your policies or training for your staff in readiness for these changes, please get in touch with a member of the Employment Team who will be happy to help.