Forthcoming legal changes

Published Sep 11, 2023

Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023

This is a new law that gives temporary workers and agency workers the right to request more predictable hours. It will give individuals working on zero hours or temporary contracts a right to request a more predictable working pattern.

The driver behind the legislation is to give “atypical” workers greater predictability and security in their hours and their income. It will enable them to identify work opportunities that fit their individual needs and circumstances. The legislation will also give these workers protection because they will have a legal right to request a settled pattern of work without fear of experiencing any form of detriment.

The right to request a predictable work pattern will closely mirror the process for requesting flexible working with the primary difference being that employers must deal with requests within one month. Under current flexible working request legislation an employer has three months to complete the process.

Employers will only be able to refuse a request for a predictable work pattern if one of six statutory grounds apply. These grounds are:

  • additional costs
  • inability to meet customer demand
  • impact on recruitment
  • impact on other areas of the business
  • insufficiency of work during the proposed periods
  • planned structural changes

The legislation is intended to provide workers with greater certainty on their hours and income but still give employees the right to reject requests after due consideration.
ACAS will produce a code of practice to provide guidance on how to make and handle requests.
We anticipate that the legislation will come into effect in the second half of 2024. Once the regulations have been published we will provide a further update.

Pension auto-enrolment extended to 18-year olds

A bill that makes two amendments to pension auto-enrolment rules has now gained Royal Assent.

Under the bill the age for being automatically enrolled into pension schemes will reduce to 18 and the lower earning threshold will be removed.

Once enacted the bill will bring workers aged 18 to 22 under the scope of auto-enrolment with the aim of normalising pension saving for younger employees.

Under the bill the lower earning threshold of £10,000 will also be removed.

It is anticipated that the extra four years of savings will increase overall pension pots and reduce the gender pension gap. The Pension Lifetime Savings Association have published research indicating that the amendments will improve retirement savings for three million people.