For more information please call  800.727.2766


Australian Workers Can Legally Ignore Late-Night Work Calls

Australian workers may be the envy of the world. The Australian Senate passed a pill giving employees the legal right to ignore calls and messages outside of working hours without fear of repercussion. This bill is expected to pass the House of Representatives and become law.

The law will allow Australian workers to refuse "unreasonable" professional communication outside the workday. Employers who punish workers for not responding to the demands could be fined. The Australian Prime Minister said, “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.”  Australian employees, like U.S. employees, fear threats to their job security for not constantly checking their emails. Australian business groups and critics call the new bill an "overreach" and expressed concerns that it could make it harder for businesses to ensure work gets done, and it will increase costs. They predict fewer jobs and fewer opportunities if passed. Some proponents of increased worker protection think the onus should be on employers by prohibiting them from reaching out at unreasonable hours rather than telling the workers they do not have to answer. France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium have introduced similar non-working hours protections. The European Parliament has proposed these protections for employees across the European Union.

Lawmakers included this new limit on employer contact outside of working hours in a larger package of workers' rights. It also includes protections for temporary workers hoping for more job permanence and new standards for gig workers. The country ranks fourth in the world for work-life balance, behind New Zealand, Spain, and France. Australian workers are guaranteed 20 days of unpaid leave, mandatory paid sick leave, "long service" 6 weeks of leave for those employed longer than seven years, 18 weeks of paid maternity leave, and a national $15 an hour minimum wage. The United States ranks 53rd.