Predictable working pattern requests: government backs private members’ bill

Predictable working pattern requests: Government backs private members’ bill's Tags

Tags related to this article

Predictable working pattern requests: government backs private members’ bill

Published 14 March 2023

The Government has confirmed that it is backing a private members’ bill which will give workers and agency workers the right to request a predictable work pattern.


In February, the Government announced that it was supporting a private member’s bill.  If passed, legislation would give workers and agency workers the right to request a predictable work pattern where:

  • There is a lack of predictability as regards any part of their work pattern. Importantly, 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.

Requests might relate to the number of hours worked, days of the week worked, start and finish times, the period for which the worker is contracted, and other aspects of a pattern that may be prescribed by regulations. 

Employers would have to consider the request and hold meetings with the worker.  As with flexible working requests, employers would be entitled to refuse requests on prescribed grounds.  These grounds would include insufficiency of work, cost, detrimental impact on the ability to meet customer demand or other aspects of the employer’s/hirer’s business. 

Workers could make two applications in a 12-month period.  It is likely that workers will not be eligible to make a request until after 26 weeks of service. 

A worker will be able to make a tribunal complaint if their employer has failed to fulfil their duties in relation to considering the request or has made a decision to reject the application which was based on incorrect facts. The tribunal must make a declaration, can award compensation and/or order the employer to reconsider the application. Workers would be protected against detriment and dismissal for making a request. Compensation is capped at eight weeks' capped pay.


If, as seems likely, this becomes law, casual, temporary and agency workers will have new rights and protections. The Bill however only provides for the right to ask for a more predictable working pattern, not a right to a predictable working pattern.  Employers and hirers who have previously relied on requiring flexibility from such workers may receive requests for predictability. Provided any requests are turned down in line with the correct procedure, which mirrors the flexible working requests procedure, they should be able to defeat any claims.  Organisations that engage individuals on unpredictable working patterns will need to establish policies and procedures to deal with such requests in the event the Bill becomes law.

This legislation is expected to come into force a year after it receives Royal Assent.


Hilary Larter

Hilary Larter


+44 (0)113 251 4710

Ceri Fuller

Ceri Fuller

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)20 7894 6583

< Back to articles