Reason ‘right to disconnect’ law won’t work in many jobs

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If you don’t want to be called outside of standard work hours, then take a job that won’t require you to be called outside of standard work hours.

How hard can it be?

The federal government is set to enshrine so-called ‘right to disconnect’ laws which will effectively prevent bosses contacting staff outside of work hours.

There may be a handful of cases where bosses repeatedly and unnecessarily contact staff after hours when it could have waited until the next morning.

In the current job market you shouldn’t struggle to find alternative employment.

Allow the free market to decide who is and isn’t a worthwhile employer. If a boss is bad to work for then word will spread and he or she will struggle to hire, forcing the business to reform or fold.

When my grandfather owned butcher shops he paid his staff above award wages because he surmised that if you treat your staff well, they will work hard and be loyal.

Most employers understand that being a prick to your staff does not encourage the best out of them.

They don’t need a law to tell them that.

But some jobs go past just 9-5 in the office.

As a newspaper reporter my phone would ring at all hours – contacts, chiefs of staff, the editor.

Print deadline was generally hours after I left the newsroom. If the chief of staff called with a question or to clarify something at 8pm, then I took that call.

I didn’t whinge and moan about the fact I wasn’t at work – they were still at work and needed my assistance to get a job done. That’s simply part of the deal.

My Sky News show, The Late Debate, is on at 10pm. Occasionally my phone will ring at 8am with a request to fill in for someone else because they’ve pulled a sickie.

The call might wake me from my slumber but I go into the studio and do my job. That’s how it works.

What happens if your boss is based in Perth and you’re in Sydney? Something comes up at 4.30pm his time, which is 7.30pm your time. He needs to call for some information or advice – but according to the government he shouldn’t make that call.

Does it really hurt your quality of life to spend 10 minutes on the phone to the boss in the evening?

You have nothing to complain about, particularly if you are well compensated – and most who are regularly contacted out of hours would be.

Imagine if teachers decided they were going to restrict marking and writing reports to school hours.

I know some of them complain but most love their jobs and understand the deal.

Hard work doesn’t involve showing up at the stroke of nine, putting in the bare minimum and leaving at the stroke of five. Some days you might have to work longer or take a late-night call.

Get over it.

I understand some people have no interest in working hard and simply view their job as a means to an end. Good for you.

But don’t expect to be promoted or get a pay rise unless you’re willing to put in a little extra effort.

This is nothing more than a favour to the Labor Party’s shareholders – the union movement.

Caleb Bond is an Sydney-based commentator and host of The Late Debate on Sky News Australia