A new law will give temporary workers a right to request a more stable working pattern and control over the hours they are required to work. The change will apply to all workers and employees, including temps, and is intended to tackle ‘one-sided flexibility’ where employers call the shots with last minute requirements to work.
According to the government, one-sided flexibility means people across the country are left waiting, unable to get on with their lives in case of being called up at the last minute for a shift. With a more predictable working pattern, workers will have a guarantee of when they are required to work, with hours that work for them. Tens of millions people are set to benefit from the proposed law change.
Temporary workers will be able to apply to their agency or to their hirer (under whose supervision and direction they work) to request a more predictable working pattern. There will be a minimum qualifying period that you will have needed to work at an employer or agency in order to be eligible to apply. This period will be set out in regulations and is expected to be 26 weeks, although you will not need to have worked continuously during that period.
The exact detail of the legislation is not yet finalised, and it is likely that there will be specific requirements for agency workers given that by it’s very nature, temping means often changing clients. We do know that the government are committed to ensuring that the regulations will be applicable to as many people as possible, and we will be ensuring that temporary workers’ interests remain at the forefront of their minds.
Employers will have the option to refuse a request for a more predictable working pattern on specific grounds, such as the burden of additional costs to make changes, or there being insufficient work at times when the employee proposes to work. Workers will be able to make up to 2 requests a year.
Overall the change is great news, and it is fantastic to see temporary workers specifically included in the plans. Just because someone’s a temp it doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to know when they’re going to be working. This is potentially a game-changer for millions of people.