Economic news

Australia to allow workers to ignore after-hours calls from bosses

2024.02.07 08:47


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A businessman talks on his Apple iPhone as he walks alongside a avenue within the central enterprise district (CBD) of Sydney in Australia, October 24, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

By Praveen Menon

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will introduce legal guidelines giving workers the appropriate to ignore unreasonable calls and messages from their bosses outdoors of labor hours with out penalty, with potential fines for employers that breach the rule.

The “right to disconnect” is a part of a raft of adjustments to industrial relations legal guidelines proposed by the federal authorities underneath a parliamentary invoice, which it says would defend workers’ rights and assist restore work-life stability.

Similar legal guidelines giving workers a proper to swap off their gadgets are already in place in France, Spain and different international locations within the European Union.

A majority of senators have now declared help for the laws, Employment Minister Tony Burke from the ruling centre-left Labor get together mentioned in a press release on Wednesday.

The provision stops workers from working unpaid additional time via a proper to disconnect from unreasonable contact out of hours, Burke mentioned.

“What we are simply saying is that someone who isn’t being paid 24 hours a day shouldn’t be penalised if they’re not online and available 24 hours a day,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters earlier on Wednesday.

The bill is expected to be introduced in parliament later this week.

The bill also includes other provisions like a clearer pathway from temporary to permanent work and minimum standards for temporary workers and truck driver.

Some politicians, employer groups and corporate leaders warned the right to disconnect provision was an overreach and would undermine the move towards flexible working and impact competitiveness.

The left-wing Greens, which supports the rule and was the first to propose it last year, said it was a big win for the party. A deal had been reached between Labor, smaller parties and independents to support this bill, Greens leader Adam Bandt said on Twitter.

“Australians work a mean of six weeks unpaid additional time annually,” Bandt mentioned.

That equated to greater than A$92 billion ($60.13 billion) in unpaid wages throughout the economic system, he added.

“That time is yours. Not your boss’.”

($1 = 1.5300 Australian {dollars})

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