Sweeping new workplace laws set to pass parliament on Thursday will give millions of casual workers greater rights to full-time work and allow staff the right to ignore their bosses after hours.
Labor’s Closing Loopholes bill is expected to pass parliament after the federal government brokered deals with key senate crossbenchers including ACT senator David Pocock, who pledged his support late on Wednesday.
Key reforms include a creating a pathway for casual workers to return to permanent work and introducing new powers for the Fair Work Commission to set minimum standards for gig economy workers, such as rideshare and food delivery drivers.
Other changes include a Greens-led demand that will create a right to disconnect from work for employees. Similar laws are already in place in multiple other countries including Spain, France and Germany.
Under right to disconnect laws, workers can take their bosses to the Fair Work Commission to stop being contacted after hours. Employers could face fines if they continue to make unreasonable contact.
Workplace reforms are expected to sail through the Senate later on Thursday before being rubber stamped in the lower house. They have faced significant backlash from business groups and the Coalition, who claim the workplace overhaul will target small businesses and drive up prices for consumers.
Nationals leader David Littleproud slammed the laws as “overreach” and said Australian employers were concerned about the major changes.
“If this means that it’s all too hard and all too expensive, ultimately they [employers] will start to make decisions about who they are employing and how many people they are employing, especially casual staff,” he told Sky News.