In a year marked by a slew of legislative changes aimed at bolstering workers’ rights, two additional laws have crossed the final hurdle, receiving Royal Assent.

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023

Under this groundbreaking law, all workers, including those on zero-hours contracts, now possess the legal right to request a predictable working pattern provided they meet specific eligibility criteria.

“This marks a pivotal shift in employee rights,” explains Kate Palmer. “However, it does raise questions about the recent push for greater workplace flexibility, which led to changes in legislation regarding flexible working requests.”

Dealing with a request for a predictable working pattern will follow a procedure similar to flexible working requests. However, there is a significant distinction: employers must address requests for a predictable working pattern within a month.

“The primary impact of this new right is likely to be felt by employers who rely on zero-hours workers, making it a more substantial challenge for some compared to others,” Palmer notes.

The Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) Act 2023

This new legislation ushers in changes to the age and earnings thresholds for automatic pension enrolment. Eligible workers will now be automatically enrolled in a pension scheme from the age of 18, down from the previous threshold of 22. Additionally, the lower earnings limit will be removed.

“These changes will affect businesses employing younger workers and those in lower-paying positions,” Palmer observes. “However, employers have a grace period to prepare for these adjustments, as they are unlikely to take effect for another year. Further guidance will also be issued to assist employers in navigating these changes.”

As these two laws gain Royal Assent, the landscape of employment rights in the UK continues to evolve, emphasising the government’s commitment to enhancing worker protections and promoting fairer working conditions. Employers and workers alike must remain vigilant and informed about their rights and responsibilities in this ever-changing legal environment.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.