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Australia to have 'Right to disconnect' policy for after-work calls

Robert Besser
10 Feb 2024

CANBERRA, Australia: As part of a series of changes to its labor laws, Australia will give workers the right to turn off their mobile devices and ignore "unreasonable" calls and messages from their bosses outside of work hours without facing penalties.

Known as the "right to disconnect," the new policy, which the federal government proposed under a parliamentary bill aimed at protecting workers' rights and restoring work-life balance, could also potentially fine employers that breach its provisions.

France, Spain, and other European Union countries have already introduced similar laws.

In a statement this week, Employment Minister Tony Burke said most senators support the new legislation, adding that its provisions prevent employees from working unpaid overtime and have the right to disconnect from "unreasonable" out-of-hours contact.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said, "What we are simply saying is that someone who is not being paid 24 hours a day should not be penalized if they are not online and available 24 hours a day."

The bill, expected to be introduced in parliament later this week, also includes other provisions such as minimum standards for temporary workers and truck drivers and a clearer pathway from temporary to permanent work.

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