Workers need right to switch off: report

Employees should have the right to “disconnect” from work and not be contacted by bosses after knock-off time, a parliamentary committee recommends.

The Senate committee on work and care released its interim report on Tuesday, which included eight “urgent” recommendations for improving the balance between those responsibilities.

It recommends the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations investigate law reforms to support flexible working arrangements and protect workers switching off from their jobs outside of contracted hours.

The committee’s chair, Greens senator Barbara Pocock, said the mental health and wellbeing of workers would drastically improve with these changes.

“We have seen a trend of ‘quiet quitting’ born out of this need to disconnect,” she said.

“It’s clear our workplace relations system needs updating, everyone should have the right to a life outside of work.”

Roster “justice” would make processes fairer and more predictable for employees, with a focus on fixed shift times and days for workers.

Bosses would be required to consider the views of the working carers when changing rosters.

Senator Pocock said last-minute roster changes made it almost impossible for employees to find care arrangements.

“Millions of Australian workers in areas like retail and hospitality don’t know what shift they’re working tomorrow,” she said.

“Roster justice is needed to give workers predictable rosters and certainty of hours.”

Collecting data by introducing new questions in the census and conducting regular surveys about carers was also recommended.

A final report will be handed down in February.


Tess Ikonomou
(Australian Associated Press)


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