The Predictable Terms Act was introduced via a private members' bill as a measure to reduce the "one sided flexibility" affecting workers in the gig economy, such as zero hours and casual workers, who sometimes remain on insecure contracts for long periods of time.
The Act will give workers and agency workers the right to request a predictable work pattern where:
- There is a lack of predictability as regards to any part of their work pattern (fixed term contracts of 12 months or less are presumed to lack predictability);
- The change relates to their work pattern;
- Their purpose in applying for the change is to get a more predictable work pattern.
The mechanism for applications is similar to that for flexible working applications. Two applications may be made in a 12 month period and the employer must consider applications in a reasonable manner. Applications may be rejected on prescribed statutory grounds. There is likely to be a 26 week minimum service requirement. Workers will be able to bring claims for breach of the Act based on procedural failings by the employer, unlawful detriment, and automatic unfair dismissal.
What does this mean for employers?
Regulations will provide further details of the statutory regime, and ACAS will produce a draft code of practice providing guidance on making and handling requests. We understand a draft will be available for consultation soon. This should help employers prepare for the new legislation.