Right To Disconnect





Greens Senator Barbara Pocock, who chairs the Senate Committee Inquiry into Work and Care, congratulates Queensland teachers who have won the right to disconnect from work after hours in a new three-year Enterprise Agreement.

“It is so good to see Queensland teachers fighting for a right to log off from work, recharge their batteries and spend time with family and friends without fear of being interrupted by a work call,” Senator Pocock said.

The new Enterprise Agreement for teachers at state schools in Queensland encourages teachers to switch off from work related emails, text messages and phone calls when they’re not on the job, except in exceptional circumstances. The Greens want everyone to have a right to disconnect.

“The pressure on workers to be available at all hours, particularly when working remotely, clearly has serious implications for mental and physical health and increases work related stress” Senator Pocock said.

“This is an issue that has come into sharp focus for many of us during the pandemic when we have had to juggle work and care responsibilities at home.

“The Greens want a right to disconnect in federal law, and Labor agreed in the interim report of the Senate Work and Care Inquiry to back our push,” Senator Pocock said.

“We will continue working with the government to get everyone a right to disconnect and will keep pushing for the reform in this and future rounds of industrial relations bills.

 “Availability creep, where employees feel they need to be available all the time to answer emails and calls or catch up on work, has increased markedly during the pandemic and this has serious implications for mental health and work-related stress,” she said.

Senator Pocock identified poor sleep, stress, burnout, degraded relationships and distracted carers as some of the damage caused by workers feeling they should be available at all hours.

“Enterprise Agreements such as the Queensland Teachers Union have just struck are a strong indication that Australian employers are finally recognising that the ability of workers to enjoy quality rest time away from the pressures of their jobs is a basic right that should be protected,” Senator Pocock said.