Employees should have the right to ignore work-related emails, calls and texts once they clock off, as part of a Greens push for new fair work protections.
Greens leader Adam Bandt on Monday introduced a proposal to parliament which would amend existing laws to give employees the “right to disconnect”.
If passed, the bill would prevent employers from contacting employees outside work hours and ensure employees are not required to monitor, read or respond to emails, calls, or any other work-related communication once they have logged off.
The bill allows for an exception in the case of an emergency and genuine welfare matters or if the employee is entitled to an availability allowance as part of their salary.
“There’s a simple principle underlying this bill: when you clock off, you should have the right to log off (and) you shouldn’t have to answer phone calls, emails or texts from your employer … unless you’re getting paid for it,” Mr Bandt told parliament.
“The bill is not about limiting the ability of employers to communicate with their employees to get work done.
“It will promote a healthier work culture that empowers working people to screen their boss’s calls when they’re off the clock.”
Mr Bandt said existing fair work laws were drafted and passed before advances in technology enabled people to be constantly connected to their work.
He urged the government to support the proposal and said it was about recognising work should not consume every aspect of life and people should be allowed to recharge.
“The right to disconnect is about giving workers the freedom to switch off and focus on their personal lives outside of work,” he said.
“Your time is your own and your employer does not have the right to contact you by text, email, or phone when you’re enjoying your leisure.”