For our clients sponsoring overseas employees to work in Australia, it is relevant to note that the Australian Federal Government announced that it will introduce laws giving workers the ‘right to disconnect’ under the Fair Work Amendment (Right to Disconnect) Bill 2023.
Specifically, the laws will provide workers with the right to ignore engaging in ‘work activities’ outside of work hours without facing a penalty, unless the reason for the contact is an emergency or genuine welfare matter or the employee is in receipt of an availability allowance for the period during which the contact is made. Under the legislation, work activities which employees can ignore outside regular work hours include monitoring, reading or responding to emails, telephone calls or any other kind of communication from an employer.
It has also been announced that potential fines will apply to employers penalising workers for exercising the right to reasonably disconnect.
The new law is similar to the French labour law which commenced in 2017 attempting to preserve a ‘right to disconnect’ for employees.
If it passes, the ‘right to disconnect’ bill will apply to overseas workers as well as Australian employees.
The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.