Business owner and former PR Maven Roxy Jacenko has been left wondering if the new law allowing Aussies to ignore their bosses outside of work hours is “feasible” in modern workplaces.
The “right to disconnect” has been included as an amendment in the Federal Government’s Closing Loopholes Bill.
The change is designed to protect employees who refuse to take unreasonable work calls or answer emails in their unpaid personal time.
Aussies are now legally allowed to ignore emails, texts or calls from their bosses outside of their standard working hours.
Ms Jacenko, who has been running successful businesses since her early twenties, finds it quite “remarkable” that a law has been passed to make this distinction.
“As a business owner, you should know what is and isn’t appropriate without it needing to be a law! It’s common sense,” she told news.com.au.
Ms Jacenko is the original Millennial girl boss who burst onto the PR scene in the early 2000s and made such a name for herself that she became a celebrity.
She’s never been shy about how hard she’s worked to create a career for herself and famously was back to answering emails only hours after she gave birth to her son Hunter in 2014.
Despite her concrete strong work ethic, Ms Jacenko said that even she doesn’t make a habit of calling her employees outside of working hours.
That doesn’t mean she’s never picked up the phone.
Ms Jacenko said it happens when “critical” matters arise that can’t be ignored until business hours commence.
“I don’t call my employees after hours unless the matter is critical, and they need to be brought up to speed – realistically, this may be 2-3 times a year if at all,” she said.
Ms Jacenko who runs the fast-paced talent agency Ministry of Talent explained that it is a case-by-case scenario, but sometimes action just needs to be taken.
“If something comes in by email after hours, and we need to action it, then I will mark it urgent again; this is infrequent but needs to be feasible,” Ms Jacenko argued.
Ms Jacenko said that she doesn’t think people on an hourly wage should be expected to be contacted outside of working hours, but if you’re on a salary, workers should respond to requests within reason.
Especially if you are in an industry that doesn’t run just within business hours and issues occur.
“For Salary earners – within reason, and dependent on the role and type of business, it is something that is not expected, but, in my view, needs to be possible within reason,” she said.
Ms Jacenko said that, ultimately, she wants a “happy team.” This is a priority, but she still needs urgent work to be done.
“If it is critical, I also need to be able to flick a quick email and flag, and I will ALWAYS pick up the issue,” she said.
Ms Jacenko explained often she’ll just be contacting a team member so she can get all the information and take care of the issue.
“I will need some background prior to doing so in order to action on my team’s behalf with professionalism and the right info,” she pointed out.
Ms Jacenko understands that being online constantly is an unrealistic expectation but she also knows that it can work.
She built her business because she was always available and has seen how that has paid off.
“I built my business on being always available, and while not for everyone, it’s a choice I made knowing that in a service-based industry, you need to be contactable,” she said.
Ms Jacenko said when she was still hustling in PR, Khloe Kardashian used her client’s Mermade Hair Waver on the weekend.
Instead of ignoring it and waiting until Monday, she jumped into “action” and started pumping out media releases to maximise coverage and get a result for her client.
“Subsequently, we have online coverage for our client that very day in real-time,” she said.
While Ms Jacenko explained it isn’t unusual for her to work all hours in general, she doesn’t expect the same from her employees.
“More often than not, I will work through late into the night and send emails – however, they will say, for tomorrow, no action needed.
“From time to time, given we are all often scrolling and looking at social apps, my team will reply, and that comes down to them loving their job and wanting the business to excel; with that comes more opportunity for the team, and they get that,” she said.