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Event Overview

Employment law is difficult to navigate at the simplest of times. However, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, many workplaces have felt the ground shifting under them. New and everchanging amendments to the Fair Work Act, changes to employee awards and agreements, and HR issues regarding leave, redundancy and onboarding have left employers struggling to navigate uncharted waters.  


To add to this uncertainty, the imminent return to work poses a range of challenges for workplaces. Anticipating the WHS requirements of a ‘COVID safe workplace’ while managing separated workforces on-site and at home is going to be a huge challenge for employers. Overseeing a successful transition back into the office is integral to ensuring the success of any organisation, and employers need to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to ensure an effective return to work 


The 14th Annual Employment Law Forum will address the changing legal requirements of employers when managing their workforce throughout their return to officesBy preparing for major transitional periods, businesses can maintain organisational sustainability beyond the conclusion of the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme and ongoing changes to the Fair Work Act, while satisfying WHS requirements and navigating redundancies 

By attending this online forum, you will learn how to:

    • 1. Track changes to the Fair Work Act to ensure better foresight, strategic planning and compliance.
    • 2. Prepare for the conclusion of the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme including anticipated.
    • 3. Manage the gradual transition of staff returning on-site by developing strategies to administer both remote and in-person workforces, while preparing for their eventual amalgamation.
    • 4. Navigating redundancies and clarifying employee leave entitlements while managing staff misconduct, mediating dismissal, and innovating methods of performance management.
    • 5. Developing ‘COVID safe workplaces’ by understanding WHS (Work Health and Safety) requirements and developing strong implementation plans.
    • 6. COVID-proofing employment contracts to prevent Adverse Action Claims and employer liability 
    • 7. Preparing for the psycho-social risks of returning to work, and adhering to mental health and wellbeing obligations outlined by WHS (Work Health and Safety). 

Key Speakers

The 14th Annual Workplace Law Forum

Tuesday 4th August 2020
  • 09:00 – 09:40
    Planning for ‘COVID-Normal’ in the return to work

    • Maintaining fiscal sustainability by planning for the conclusion of JobKeeper  
    • Managing Work Health and Safety (WHS) on-site and at home, including exposure to workers’ compensation, workplace injuries in the home and planning for the return of workforces to the office 
    • Addressing work-from-home limitations imposed by industrial instruments, new industrial allowance claims after JobKeeper and setting employee expectations regarding ongoing business flexibility  
    Michelle Cox
    Senior Associate – Employment Relations Team Piper Alderman
    Hannah Linossier
    Senior Associate – Employment Relations Team Piper Alderman
  • 09:40 – 10:20
    Managing disputes and grievances in and beyond a COVID-safe workplace

    • Mediating workplace disputes and disciplinary processes arising from staged return to work plans and workplace flexibility  
    • Conducting effective workplace investigations and maintaining procedural fairness in the new world of work 
    • Minimising legal risks by exploring lessons from recent case studies  
    Hannah Ellis
    Managing Partner The Workplace Employment Lawyers
    Alina Kaye
    Special Counsel The Workplace Employment Lawyers
  • 10:20-10:40
    Morning Break
  • 10:40-11:20
    Preparing for the psycho-social risks of returning to work on-site

    • Adhering to mental health and wellbeing obligations required by WHS (Work Health and Safety) laws and other authorities
    • Reviewing recommendations by Safe Work Australia and integrating them in strategic planning
    • Considering issues arising where mental health affects employee conduct or performance
    Amy Toohey
    Senior Associate Clayton Utz
  • 11:20am – 12:00pm
    Tracking changes to the Fair Work Act and modern awards to ensure better strategic planning and compliance

    • Providing an update on JobKeeper and the COVID-related changes to the Fair Work Act and modern awards 
    • Navigating non COVID-related changes, including annualised salaries and the proposed changes to casual employment following WorkPac v Rossato 
    • Implementing processes to ensure compliance with these recent and proposed changes 
    Nicola Martin
    Nicola Martin
    Principal and Practice Group Leader – Employment Team McCabe Curwood
    Erin Kidd
    Special Counsel – Employment Team McCabe Curwood
  • 12:00 – 01:00
  • 01:00 - 01:40
    Navigating likely workplace reforms to be made under the Jobmaker initiative

    • Analysing how and what awards are likely to be further simplified and changed, including the BOOT (Better Off Overall Test), enterprise bargaining and the termination of agreements
    • Preparing for statutory dilemmas, including casual employment and accrual of personal and carers leave
    • Drawing lessons and comparisons from Danish and Dutch workplace law case studies
    David Cross
    Partner Norton Rose Fullbright Australia
  • 01:40-02:20
    Preparing for the conclusion of the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme

    • Understanding the legal difference between stand down, JobKeeper enabled stand down and genuine redundancy
    • Mitigating the risk of unfair dismissal and adverse action claims
    • Providing recommendations of other cost reduction strategies post JobKeeper
    Brian Powels
    Brian Powles
    Director PCC Employment Lawyers
  • 2:20-2:40
    Afternoon Break
  • 2:40pm – 3:20pm
    Navigating redundancies

    • Exploring the redundancy process, redundancy entitlements and notice periods
    • Identifying the risks of Fair Work Commission proceedings (general protections and unfair dismissal) stemming from redundancies
    • Mitigating the risks involved with making employees redundant and the impacts of COVID-19 on the workforce
    Sladjana Skoric 
    Solicitor JFM Law
    Thomas Du
    Solicitor JFM Law
  • 3:20 – 4:00
    Avoiding bullying claims in the post-COVID world

    • Identifying areas of potential bullying claims, and eliminating liability through risk management
    • Exploring strategies of business management that reduce the risk of bullying claims
    • Building strong policy and procedural approaches to workplace bullying, including risk assessment, mediation and on-going reviewal
    Joydeep Hor
    Founder and Managing Principal People + Culture Strategies
  • 4:00
    End of event

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VENUE:  Online


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