Workers in Australia may soon be able to ignore work-related texts and calls after work hours without fear of retribution if a new bill becomes law.
“When it’s after hours, and the boss is on the line, Australian workers — already among the world’s best-rested and most personally fulfilled employees — can soon press ‘decline’ in favor of the seductive call of the beach.
In yet another buttress against the scourge of overwork, Australia’s Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would give workers the right to ignore calls and messages outside working hours without fear of repercussion. It will now return to the House of Representatives for final approval.
The new bill, which is expected to pass in the House with ease, would let Australian workers refuse ‘unreasonable’ professional communication outside the workday. Workplaces that punished employees for not responding to such demands could be fined.
‘Someone who is not being paid 24 hours a day shouldn’t be penalized if they’re not online and available 24 hours a day,’ Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said at a news conference on Wednesday.
The provision is a last-minute amendment to a package of proposed legal changes aimed at strengthening workers’ rights. The legislation, which also includes protections for temporary workers looking to become more permanent and new standards for gig workers, such as food delivery drivers, had been heavily debated.”
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