The bill was introduced in the House of Commons by Scott Benton (Independent MP for Blackpool South). Mr Benton was a Conservative MP during the time the bill was considered in the House of Commons but was subsequently suspended from the party. Speaking during second reading on 3 February 2023, Mr Benton said the bill would give workers on zero-hour contracts who would like more certainty the ability to request more predictable working patterns. He also said the bill would give this right to other workers who may have unpredictable working conditions, such as temporary workers, agency workers and workers with non-guaranteed hours.

The bill would:

  • set out the circumstances in which an application for more predictable working hours could be made, such as the length of time someone must be with an employer before making an application
  • establish the grounds on which an application may be refused, including the burden of additional cost and there being insufficient work during the hours requested
  • that employers, agencies and hirers which have received an application must deal with the request in a reasonable manner and must notify the worker of their decision within one month
  • the process by which someone who has made an application might take a complaint to an employment tribunal and the remedies that would be available to them

The proposals in the bill were initially proposed by the government following its review of employment practices in 2017.  At the time of the 2019 Queen’s Speech, the government said this change would be included in its new employment bill. Such a bill has not yet published. However, the government has supported several private members’ bills, such as this bill and the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill, which would implement aspects of the proposed employment bill.

The government supported the bill, having previously consulted on some of these proposals in 2018. The government has published explanatory notes, an impact assessment and a delegated powers memorandum.

The bill completed its House of Commons stages unamended. It received its first reading in the House of Lords on 27 March 2023. The second reading is scheduled to take place on 16 June 2023.

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