Aussie workers could be stripped of the right to ignore their bosses after hours should the Coalition win the next election, Peter Dutton says.
The Opposition Leader committed to repealing the third tranche of Labor’s contentious industrial relations reforms, which includes the right to ignore “unreasonable” contact from employers, if he took power.
“Yes we will,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
“We will take the policy that’s in the country’s best interest that provides support for workers but doesn’t make it impossible – particularly for small businesses – to employ staff.
“Because particularly when the economy turns down, we want employers to err on the side of keeping those workers on.”
It comes after the final vote of the reforms were thrown into chaos last week after a Greens amendment passed that allowed criminal penalties for bosses who refuse to comply with a stop order by the workplace umpire.
The Coalition barred attempts from Labor to fix the error before the Bill went to the final vote in the Senate.
Under new laws, workers could raise a complaint about unreasonable phone calls or the expectation they answer work emails out-of-hours with their employer.
Employees can also apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order on the employer to stop unreasonable out-of-hours contact.
Both business groups and the Coalition has raised strong concerns about employers receiving fines of up to $18,000 for contacting staff after hours.
After revealing his plans to repeal the law entirely, Mr Dutton accused Labor of being at the “behest” of the union movement and bending to the demands of minor parties.
“If you think it’s okay to outsource your industrial relations or your economic policy to the Greens – which the Prime Minister is doing, then we are going to see a continuation of the productivity problem in our country,” the Opposition Leader claimed.
“As the Reserve Bank governor pointed out, if you don’t address it you’ll see interest rates continue to climb or you’ll see them stay higher for longer.”
Treasurer Jim Chalmers argued the new right-to-disconnect laws were about making sure that workers had enough downtime with their families and loved ones.
“It’s a common sense change that says if things get out of hand you can go to the Commission. And it’s all about recognising that the economy is changing and technology is changing – and we don’t want people to have to be on call 24/7,” Dr Chalmers said on Sunday.
“I know the Coalition will play their usual nasty and negative politics about it. But I think the Australian working people of this country know that we are trying to make sure as our economy and society changes … we want people to be beneficiaries rather than victims of that change.”
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