The Right To Regular Hours

5 minutes

A new law is coming in that affects workers with unpredictable hours.


Many people in the UK have zero hours contracts or have unpredictable working patterns. But the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill has recently received Royal Assent.


When it’s enacted, people with zero-hours or temporary contracts will have the right to request a more predictable working pattern. The hope is that it will give workers more certainty over their working hours and income.


Certain details remain unconfirmed, including how long employees need to have worked before they can ask for predictable hours. What we know is employers have to refuse the request based on one of six statutory grounds:


  • Additional cost
  • Ability to meet customer demand
  • Impact on other business areas
  • Impact on recruitment
  • Planned structural changes
  • Insufficient work


Employers have one month to deal with predictable hours requests. The law is similar to the new flexible hours law giving employees the ‘right to request’, with refusals needing to fit within the new legal framework.   


Some argue this doesn’t go far enough and an outright ban on zero hours contracts like those in Denmark, France and New Zealand would have been better. Others worry this is another burden on employers at a difficult economic time.


Let's see how it works in practice. What do you think?