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Australia could soon allow workers to ignore office calls and emails outside contracted hours

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  • Australia’s Senate passed a new bill on Thursday giving employees the “right to disconnect” after work.

  • The bill allows workers to ignore unreasonable calls and emails from their bosses once they’ve clocked out.

  • Australia will join a host of countries that already have similar legislation in place.

Australia’s Senate passed a bill on Thursday giving employees the “right to disconnect” after work and ignore emails and calls from their bosses during their personal time.

The bill will now return to the House of Representatives for final approval.

Employees would have the right to “refuse to monitor, read or respond to contact, or attempted contact, from an employer outside of the employee’s working hours unless the refusal is unreasonable,” an amendment put forward by the Australian Greens party said.

A dispute between the employee and employer regarding a refusal could be reported to Australia’s Fair Work Commission to make a final decision, according to the amendment.

“The world is connected, but that has created a problem,” Tony Burke, the minister for employment and workplace relations, said in an interview with Australia’s national broadcaster.

“If you’re in a job where you’re only paid for the exact hours that you’re working, some people are now constantly in a situation of getting in trouble if they’re not checking their emails, it being expected to be working for a whole lot of time that they’re not being paid. That’s just unreasonable,” he added.

Several European countries, including France and Belgium, already have similar legislation in place.

France first introduced the “right to disconnect” law in 2017 which forced companies with over 50 employees to negotiate with staff about when they can ignore emails and phone calls.

Kenya is also one of the first African countries seeking to implement an equivalent law.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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