Small business owners will be required to offer predictable hours to short or zero-hours contract employees, unless they have a valid reason not to do so. Once a zero-hours worker has completed 26 weeks of service, they can request a more predictable pattern of hours. Within a month of receiving the request, the business owner must provide a decision, which can be turned down if it would have a detrimental impact on meeting customer demand or result in additional costs. Failure to handle predictable hour requests adequately could result in discrimination issues and workers have the option to go to an employment tribunal. The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill, which is supported by the government, is expected to become law within the next 12 months. Conservative MP Scott Benton initiated the private member’s bill to fulfil his party’s manifesto commitment. The bill is one of seven private member’s bills addressing workplace rights that is passing through Parliament, in the absence of the employment bill promised in the 2019 Queen’s Speech.
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