Australia Working Law Bill Give Employees Right to Disconnect Heres All Details
The bill will return to the House of Representatives for final approval with the expected smooth passage. It gives employees the right to reject “inappropriate” official communications outside working hours. Under this, non-compliant workplaces will also be punished.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stressed that those not receiving payments around the clock should not be penalized for being constantly unavailable, The New York Times reports. This is similar to similar laws in European countries such as France, Germany, Italy and Belgium, which give employees the right to disconnect from work-related communications during off-duty hours.
Certainly, since Covid, companies have started delegating more workload to their employees in the name of working from remote location. Social media is filled with such posts every day about how, in the name of working from home, they have to remain on meetings or calls even after their scheduled working hours are over.
Critics, including business groups and opposition lawmakers, argue that the law has been rushed and could hinder productivity. Business Council of Australia CEO Brian Black expressed concern about the potential costs and job losses. Senator Michaelia Cash of the opposition Liberal Party argued that existing legal protections against unreasonable working hours are sufficient.
While acknowledging the issue of workers' rights during the pandemic-induced remote work surge, some critics questioned the law's mechanics, placing the onus on workers rather than binding employers. Workers in Australia already enjoy benefits such as annual paid leave, sick leave, long service leave, paid maternity leave and a nationwide minimum wage of about $15 an hour. According to the Remote Index, the country ranks fourth globally in terms of work-life balance, while the United States ranks 53rd with a federal minimum wage of $7.25.
Even in Australia, some people are not happy with the new work rules. These also include business groups and opposition party politicians. He says that the government is moving very fast with this law and this may make it difficult for companies to do their work. Brian Black, CEO of the Business Council of Australia, is worried it could increase costs for businesses and lead to the loss of jobs.
Senator Michaelia Cash from the opposition Liberal Party believes the laws we already have in place are good enough to protect workers from having to work too much. She doesn't believe we need this new law.
Critics also say that the law puts the onus on workers to protect their rights, rather than making it a rule for companies not to contact their employees outside of work hours.
Australia already has some good benefits for employees, such as paid time off, sick leave and maternity leave. The minimum wage nationwide is around $15 an hour. Australia is the fourth best country in the world for a good balance between work and personal life, according to the rankings of Remote, a global employment platform. In comparison, the United States ranks 53rd and has a federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.