Australian bosses who contact employees after hours to do unpaid work could be fined, in a radical shake-up of workplace laws by the Albanese Government.
The government is set to introduce “right to disconnect” laws to protect employees from unfair demands from employers.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Bosses could be fined for contacting employees outside work hours.
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The new laws, to be introduced into parliament this week, focus on creating new standards for the gig (freelance) economy, boosting causal workers’ rights to access permanent employment and updating the definition of employment.
Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke explained the laws this week, in a report in The Australian.
Australian bosses who contact employees after hours to do unpaid work could be fined, in a radical shake-up of workplace laws by the Albanese Government. Credit: SUNRISE
He said, as part of the updated laws, a worker would be able to get a “stop order” against their employer. If an employer breaches this stop order, it could be fined.
“If a stop order was breached, the employer would be completely on notice … only then would there be a situation of fines,” Burke said.
Appearing on Sunrise on Monday, founder of Employee Matters Natasha Hawker said she didn’t agree with some of the proposal, saying working from home arrangements could complicate things.
“I don’t think it should be a one-size-fits-all-approach,” she said.
“So many Australian workers are happy about working from home, and they realise that flexibility works both ways. So, therefore, they are happy to have that (a more informal working arrangement where they may be contacted outside normal hours).”
Hawker said the right to disconnect laws would benefit employees with difficult bosses.
“I think there might some employees with difficult management teams, and this would help to protect them,” she said.
However, Hawker said the negatives could outweigh the positives.
“This is just another piece of legislation they (employers) will have to get their head around and comply with, if it passes,” she said.
Hawker implied market forces and unemployment levels would create the right balance.
“Since COVID it has changed — we are in the tightest market we’ve had for many years,” she said.
“Employees that don’t get what they want vote with their feet, and they leave.”