Right to Disconnect

Right to Disconnect

The Right to Disconnect - What you need to know

The Right to Disconnect has been introduced as an amendment to the Fair Work Act via the legislation of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes No. 2) Act 2024. The amendment is intended to protect employees from any adverse action by the Employer, where the Employee refuses to take unreasonable work calls or answer emails in their unpaid personal time.

Determining what is an “unreasonable refusal” may well be impacted by several factors, including the type of job. An example maybe, an emergency doctor on call, would be required to be contactable at different times of the day, but a retail worker may have clearly designated shifts such as working from 9am to 5pm.

Right to Disconnect

The right to disconnect, and the rules that come with it, will begin on the 26 August 2024 for non-small businesses, however for small businesses that have fewer than 15 employees will have a further 12 months before implementation.

Right to Disconnect - When is refusing contact unreasonable?

According to the Commission’s direction, refusing contact may be “unreasonable” based on:

Right to Disconnect
The reason for out of hours contact
Right to Disconnect
How the contact is made
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The level of disruption to the employee
Right to Disconnect
The extent to which the employee is compensated (i.e. by way of an on-call allowance or additional remuneration for working outside normal hours)
Right to Disconnect
Any non-monetary compensation the employee may receive on top of their wage
Right to Disconnect
The nature of the employee’s role and responsibilities
Right to Disconnect
The caring responsibilities of the employee

How do I handle Disputes?

If a dispute arises the employer should first try to come to an agreement with the employee at a workplace level. Where an agreement can’t be made, the matter can be taken to the Fair Work Commission who can enforce ‘stop’ orders, including:
Right to Disconnect
To prevent the employee from “unreasonably” refusing out-of-hours contact
Right to Disconnect
To stop an employer from contacting a worker out of hours
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To prevent an employer from taking disciplinary action against the employee, due to the employer’s belief that the refusal is unreasonable.

Need support with the Right to Disconnect Amendment?

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Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts is meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains only general information about human resources matters and due to factors, such as government legislation changes, may not be up to date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such.

Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts are meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains general information about human resources matters and due to factors, such as Government legislation changes, may not be up to date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such.

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