ACTU wants right to disconnect in all modern awards

Unions strike back against attempts to abolish right to disconnect legislation taking effect

ACTU wants right to disconnect in all modern awards

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is pushing for the inclusion of the right to disconnect in all modern awards after previous attempts from lawmakers to abolish it.

ACTU filed on Monday a submission to the Fair Work Commission that includes a draft model clause for the right to disconnect for modern awards.

Under the draft clause, ACTU wants to hold employers accountable for proper staffing and planning to minimise out-of-hours contact.

Australia's right to disconnect was passed early this year with implementation set for August 26, 2024, and August 26, 2025, for small businesses.

Overturning right to disconnect

But there have been attempts to overturn this controversial legislation from Australia's coalition, led by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.

On Friday, two amendments seeking to abolish the right to disconnect, in its entirety and for small businesses, lost in the Senate. The amendments came after Dutton previously vowed to overturn the right-to-disconnect legislation if he wins in the next federal election, The Guardian reported.

ACTU president Michele O'Neil, however, called Dutton "out of touch" with Australians with his promise.

"Abolishing this right would worsen the work-life balance of families and create more burnout and stress in people’s lives. A healthier workplace is a more productive workplace," O'Neil said in a statement.

"Establishing a clear separation between work and the rest of our lives is important for improving mental health and enabling all of us to spend quality time with our loved ones."

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