Australian Workers Can Ignore Bosses Calls After Office Hours
There will be new legislation in Australia allowing workers to ignore unreasonable boss calls and messages outside of their office work hours without penalty, with employers who violate the law potentially facing fines. As part of a parliamentary bill that would amend industrial relations laws to protect workers’ rights and restore work-life balance, the federal government is proposing the “right to disconnect.”.
French, Spanish, and other European Union countries already have laws allowing employees to switch off their devices.
Despite its support, some politicians, employer groups, and corporate leaders argue that the “right to disconnect” provision could be an overreach, potentially undermining flexibility in working arrangements and impacting competitiveness.
The left-wing Greens, who initially proposed the idea last year, see the legislation as a significant victory. Greens leader Adam Bandt highlighted that Australians work an average of six weeks of unpaid overtime each year, amounting to over A$92 billion ($60.13 billion) in unpaid wages across the economy. Bandt emphasised that this time belongs to the workers and not their bosses.