Australia will launch laws giving workers the right to ignore inconsiderate calls and messages from their employers outside of work hours without penalty. The new law(s) will additionally come with possible fines for employers that flout the rule.
The “right to disconnect” is part of a stream of changes to industrial relations laws suggested by the federal government under a parliamentary bill. The law says it would protect workers’ rights and help restore work-life balance.
Identical laws giving employees a right to turn off their devices are already in place in France, Spain and other countries in the European Union.
Employment Minister, Tony Burke has said that a lot of senators have announced support for the legislation, from the ruling centre-left Labor party.
The bill stops employees from working unpaid overtime through a right [they can exercise] to disconnect from unreasonable contact out of hours, Burke had added.
The bill is expected to be launched in parliament later this week.
The bill also includes other provisions like a direct pathway from temporary to permanent work and provision for minimum standards for temporary workers and truck driver.
Certain politicians, employer groups and corporate leaders have warned that the right to disconnect provision was an overestimate and would sabotage the move towards flexible working.
Australians are reported to work an average of six weeks unpaid overtime each year.