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Australia Passes Right-to-Disconnect Law

The policy, which goes into effect later this year, prohibits employers from contacting some employees after hours.

By Maggie Mancini

In February, Australia passed a “right to disconnect” law that prohibits employers from contacting workers after hours, with penalties including possible jail time for bosses who do not cooperate. The law goes into effect later this year.  

There are some exceptions to the law, including those whose employment contracts require them to be on-call outside of regular working hours. This includes media advisers, public servants, and political staffers.  

Under the law, employees will be able to make complaints with their employer about after-hours phone calls or the expectation that they answer emails outside of their working hours. If the issue is not resolved by their employer, employees can apply for a Fair Work Commission order to stop the out-of-hours contact. Breaches of these orders are punishable by fines of up to AUS$18,000.  

Australia’s law on the right to disconnect is the latest in a series of countries making the change, most often in the EMEA region. France was the first country to pass the legislation in 2017, followed by Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland, and Philippines.  

Tags: Employee Experience, News Ticker

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