‘Right to Disconnect’: Australian Lawmakers Introduce Law Allowing Workers To Ignore Unreasonable Bosses’ Calls and Messages Outside of Work Hours

In our days, with cutthroat competition in the work environment and widespread mobile communications, it seems like there’s never any ‘off’ time.

The information age many times means that stimuli can reach us from a variety of sources at any time of the day and night.

Sometimes, over-explosition to these stimuli can be a self-inflicted problem, but many times, it’s a work imposition.

Unless you are obsessed with your work, professional calls outside work hours can be a very annoying experience.

After-hours calls and messages are understandable in an emergency, but as a corporate and managerial modus operandi, it can amount to significant unpaid overtime.

Reuters reported:

“Australia will introduce laws giving workers the right to ignore unreasonable calls and messages from their bosses outside of work hours without penalty, with potential fines for employers that breach the rule.

The ‘right to disconnect’ is part of a raft of changes to industrial relations laws proposed by the federal government under a parliamentary bill, which it says would protect workers’ rights and help restore work-life balance.”

Employees are already legally authorized to switch off their devices in France, Spain, and other countries in the European Union.

A majority of Australian senators have now declared support for the legislation.

The new rules aim to stop employees from working unpaid overtime through an established ‘right to disconnect’ from unreasonable contact outside working hours.

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

[…] 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.”

Supporters of the new legislation allege that Australian workers end up with an average of six weeks of unpaid overtime each year.

That would equate to more than $60.13 billion in unpaid wages across the country’s economy.



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