Following months of negotiations with the government and the crossbench, the Greens have secured support in their push for a legislated right to disconnect for workers.
As a long-time campaign and demand of the Greens, this win allows workers to ignore contact from their employers outside of work hours, unless they are paid for it.
The amendments to the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes No. 2) Bill 2023 will give employees an enforceable right to refuse contact from their employer out of hours unless that refusal is unreasonable. Where the issue cannot be resolved at the workplace, and the behaviour continues, the Fair Work Commission can issue stop orders. If they are breached, the normal civil remedies of the Fair Work system will apply.
Factors like the reason for contact, the level of contact, compensation, job role and responsibility, and workers’ personal circumstances will be taken into account in deciding what is reasonable contact.
Having reached agreement with the government and crossbench on the right to disconnect, the Greens will back the bill when it comes before the Senate today.
Lines attributable to Greens Leader Adam Bandt:
“The Greens have won workers a right to disconnect,” Mr Bandt said.
“Whether you’re a nurse, teacher, or hospo worker, the Greens believe you shouldn’t have to answer calls or texts from your boss on your day off or after hours if you’re not being paid for it.
“The Greens are in Parliament to fight for workers, and by winning workers a right to disconnect, we have reclaimed the weekend for millions of people who need that time off.
“This is especially a big win for women and carers who are often forced to juggle work and caring responsibilities.”
Lines attributable to Senator Barbara Pocock:
“This right will make a real difference for millions of Australian workers and their families who need some backup when they want to say no to 24/7 contact from their workplace.
‘The right is clear, practical and reasonable. It will make a difference for workers who are not paid for being available and who donate many unpaid hours to their workplace.
‘In implementing this right, we are playing catch up with 20 other nations who have already acted on this massive problem.
‘This change will help workers protect their mental health and improve work-life balance. It will especially help those in insecure jobs who need that legislative backup.
“I want to thank the government and the Senate crossbench for their constructive engagement and their support for our right to disconnect plan.