HiBob vice president of Asia Pacific & Japan, Damien Andreasen explains why the Right to Disconnect will not achieve its goal of ensuring employee wellbeing.

He believes the new law plays a relatively small role in improving overall employee wellbeing compared to the other things employers should be doing, like offering autonomy, flexibility and a clear career progression path.

“I’m skeptical as to whether the right to disconnect will achieve its goal of ensuring employee wellbeing. We’ve seen similar legislation in other areas of the world largely fail to make a difference because the majority of employers in the services sector have simply put a waiver clause in their employee contracts,” he said.

“This was the case in the UK, for example, when the EU brought in the 35-hour week, and employees are suffering burnout there at a similar level to other countries around the world. The right to disconnect isn’t a silver bullet for employee wellbeing.

“The good news is that after over a year of significant economic uncertainty, burnout and layoffs, many organisations in Australia are actively looking to improve employee wellbeing without being prompted by legislation — especially with regards to autonomy.

“In our recent research into young Australians in the workplace, we found that half of employees say they have independence and aren’t micromanaged, and over half feel trusted to get on with their jobs.

“However, there’s still work to be done on the flexibility side — as two in five say that they’d consider leaving their job for more flexible work opportunities. 38% also said that the lack of a clear career path was one of the top three things they dislike the most about their current job.

“On balance though, employers’ efforts into employee wellbeing are heading in the right direction, as four in five young Aussies state they’re happy with their work–life balance and a whopping nine in 10 are satisfied in their role.

“That bodes well for organisations as the right to disconnect comes into effect.”