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Navigating an employee’s responsibilities to suit the business needs can be a touchy subject even with the legislative changes. At Integrated Human Resources, we are constantly updating clients and employees on how we can ensure we are always at the forefront of what is under the rug. 

So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, the Right to Disconnect amendment to the Fair Work Act. One we did not think would come so soon.

Panic seems to have set in across businesses regarding this topic and we have not fallen short of queries to prepare our clients for the changes. Have no fear, Integrated is here.

When?!

This will come into action by the Australian Government as of, the 26th of August 2024 for medium to large businesses and the 26th of August 2025 for small businesses. This entitlement will be regarded as a component of the General Protections outlined in Part 3-1 of the Fair Work Act.

Understanding the Right to Disconnect Amendment:

Okay, so what does this mean?
This amendment essentially provides employees the right to decline participation in work-related communications outside of their scheduled working hours, promoting a healthy work-life balance.

Employees can raise a claim with Fair Work in which they can determine “unreasonable contact” and a “stop order” may be legally enforced to investigate the matter.

The evaluation of unreasonable contact will consider:

  • the reason for the contact; (Does the reason have a large impact on the operations?)
  • the frequency and method of contact; (Is contact outside of an employee’s hours an exception or a rule?)
  • remuneration of employee (the higher the more flexible)
  • role and responsibilities; and (Do they have high responsibilities within their agreement/PD to be reached for this reason?)
  • the worker’s circumstances, which may include family responsibilities (Is this impacting their personal life)

Preparing Your Business for Change:

What can my business do to prepare for this change?
Firstly, it may be time to evaluate the operational needs of the business and the regular communication within your team. Once you have done this, start the consultation process with your team. Employment agreements may need to be updated to include this understanding of being contactable outside of their ordinary hours, this will affect new employees.

In the instance that your business holds an Enterprise Agreement (EA) where the compensation is more generous than the Fair Work Act, the better-off overall will continue to apply to the employee.

All in all, there are still a fair few grey areas to understand at this point. Until we see this change come into effect and case studies have been established, we will need to just be mindful of what is genuinely required from our employees. This does not have to be a bad outcome, it may be time to see operationally where you can improve and start promoting that healthy balance to support your employees.

Our Integrated Human Resources team can certainly keep you in the loop or even help amend any agreements to ensure that your business will be ready to face this head-on. So please reach out and let us know!

Navigating the Right to Disconnect amendment and related Fair Work Act changes is crucial for businesses to promote a healthy work-life balance and comply with legislative requirements. For more insights and assistance in preparing for these changes, contact Integrated Human Resources today.

Integrated Human Resourcing is an outsourced HR firm based in Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast.  As human resource specialists, we work closely with your business to understand your needs and to ensure ongoing business success. 

If you need advice on Fair Work compliance, please feel free to contact us. Email: info@humanresourcing.com.au or Phone: (07) 5613 1846.