Ahead of legislation next year, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) is consulting on a draft code of practice for employers on handling requests for a predictable working pattern.
Under the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions Act 2023), expected to be enacted next autumn, workers can make a formal request to change their working pattern if their working hours and times lack predictability, or they have signed a fixed-term contract for less than 12 months.
The code aims to help agency workers and those on zero-hours or temporary contracts to generate a reliable income and manage their work-life balance, Acas said. The Trades Union Congress estimates that 3.7 million people – around one in nine workers – are in insecure work.
The draft code sets out that employers should hold a meeting to discuss a request before reaching a decision, defines who should be allowed to accompany a worker, and says requests should be accepted where possible. It also states that employers should be clear about legal reasons for rejecting a request and offer an appeal when doing so.
Acas chief executive Susan Clew said the draft code aims “to make working life better for everyone” and to help businesses, employment agencies, recruiters, staff and their representatives understand the new law.
The consultation will close on 17 January.