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Australia to grant employees 'Right to Disconnect' after office hours, following European models

Australia is set to introduce legislation granting workers the right to disconnect after office hours, following European precedents and aiming to safeguard employee well-being and work-life balance.

Australia to grant employees 'Right to Disconnect' after office hours, following European models snt
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First Published Feb 8, 2024, 11:35 AM IST

In a move following the footsteps of some European nations, Australia is poised to grant workers the right to disconnect after office hours, presenting potential consequences for businesses breaching this boundary. The center-left Labor government is incorporating the right to disconnect as a key component of its proposed industrial relations legislation, expected to pass with support from the Australian Greens party and independent senators.

Although the final form of the legislation is yet to be revealed, an amendment proposed by the Greens outlines that employees will have the right to refuse monitoring, reading, or responding to employer contacts outside of their working hours unless such refusal is deemed unreasonable. Disputes arising from employer attempts to communicate with workers after office hours can be brought to Australia's Fair Work Commission for resolution, as outlined in the proposed amendment.

The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, emphasized the significance of winning workers the right to disconnect, reclaiming weekends for millions who require dedicated time off. The definition of "reasonable contact" is expected to involve various considerations.

This legislative development aligns Australia with countries such as France, Spain, and Belgium, which have already implemented right to disconnect laws safeguarding workers from undue contact beyond their official working hours. As governments worldwide contemplate similar measures, Australia's potential adoption of this legislation marks a significant step in prioritizing employee well-being and work-life balance in the modern workplace.

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