Worker rights

31 October 2023

Workers who have an unpredictable working pattern or contract length will have a right to make a request to their employer for a more stable and predictable or permanent pattern.

From Autumn 2024, workers will have the right to request a minimum number of guaranteed hours or defined clarity over which days of the week they will be asked to work. This right will be available to all employees or workers on fixed term contracts or zero hours workers or who don’t have a fixed working hours pattern.

Once requested, employers will be required to hold a meeting with an employee after they make a request and consider the request reasonably. If accepting it means they will be required to put the worker on a more fixed, less flexible work pattern.

The legislation also allows for fixed term employees with a contract of less than one year to be able to make a request for their contract to be changed from fixed term to permanent.

Employees will be allowed to request for a longer fixed term or to go permanent. The proposed process is envisioned to be managed in the same way as a flexible working request.

Employers will have the right to refuse the requests made by both workers and fixed term employees, similar to refusing a flexible working request, but only for one of six defined reasons to do so such as the burden of additional costs or there being insufficient work during the periods when the worker has requested to work.

If a request is successful, the new terms must be offered within two weeks of approving the request.

Employers will not be allowed to make detrimental changes to other contractual terms at the same time as making the changes resulting from a successful request for predictability.