Industrial and workplace relations can be an area fraught with complexity and heightened emotions especially following the COVID-19 outbreak. With changes in the pipeline in a range of areas from enterprise bargaining, labour hire, casual workers, right-of-entry changes and more, it's critical to understand the implications of the current environment.

Thomson Reuters' Industrial & Workplace Relations Conference is taking place in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth in October 2020. The conference will look at implications of COVID-19 on the Australian workplace, restructuring and redundancy, unfair dismissal and adverse actions, casual employment, enterprise wage bargaining, workplace bullying, workplace investigations, labour hire reform and the latest developments in employment relations and IR Laws. For all those wanting to understand and navigate the complexities of industrial and workplace relations, this conference is a must-attend.

Testimonials from 2019 attendees:

"So much knowledge in one day's presentation."

"Well structured- variety of topics assists with engagement."

"Great content between legal & 'practical'."

"The whole day has been incredibly interesting & filled with practical information to take away & put immediately into practice in the workplace."

Dates & Locations

Brisbane: 6 October, Marriott
Melbourne: 8 October, Crown
Sydney: 12 October, Hilton
Perth: 23 October, Duxton

Your investment

Early bird price
$650 + GST
Early bird price expires 25 August 2020

Full price
$750 + GST

Register Now




Sydney: Paul Lorraine, Senior Lawyers, Harmers Workplace Lawyers
Brisbane: Helen Donovan, Senior Associate, Allens
Melbourne: Representative from Allens
Perth: Kate Walawski, Partner, Murfett Legal   



COVID-19: Lessons learned in a time of crisis

COVID-19 has major implication on employment law, with current issues ranging from the stand down of employment, self-isolation and working from home, the implementation of reduced pay and hours, unpaid leave and WHS. Find out about how to cope in the future and address current issues in this rapidly evolving situation.

Sydney: Kathryn Dent, Director, People Culture
Brisbane, Melbourne & Perth: Sarah Neideck, Senior Associate, HR Law


Restructuring and redundancy in a post COVID-19 environment

What are the legal risks associated with restructuring a workplace, either in response to productivity issues, the result of a ‘downsize’ or most recently COVID-19?  How to make sure changes made are compliant with your legal obligations and that they are implemented in the best possible way.  This session will cover:

  • Your legal obligations, including obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), modern awards and enterprise agreements
  • What consultation should look like
  • Effective communication strategies
  • How you can be best placed to defend employee claims

Erin Lynch, Partner, Vincent Young


Networking and refreshment break


How to reduce the risk of unfair dismissal and adverse action claims in the current environment

Adverse action and unfair dismissal claims can impact productivity and cause financial and reputational damage. The session will help you implement a robust framework for tackling unfair dismissal and termination claims, and allow you to develop practical strategies for handling claims when they do arise.

  • COVID-19 issues
  • Update on recent developments pertaining to unfair dismissals
  • What are the parameters of a fair and unfair dismissal?
  • Ensuring compliance throughout the termination process

Chris Gianatti, Director, KHQ Lawyers  


The wage compliance challenge: the "new" workplace risk

A spate of recent high-profile wage underpayments cases have shown that no industry is immune, with estimates of $1 billion in lost wages.  With the misinterpretation of awards and agreements often inevitable, how can organisations protect themselves against wage underpayment risk?

This session will cover:

  • The legal framework governing compliance and the FWO
  • Developing a compliance strategy
  • Once you discover an underpayment issue, what do you do next?
  • How employers are facing the challenge

Melbourne: Chris Gardner, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw
Sydney: Ben Dudley, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw
Brisbane: Philippa Noakes, Senior Associate, Seyfarth Shaw
Perth: Kate Walawski, Partner, Murfett Legal   


Lunch and networking break


CASE STUDY: Establishing employment relations strategies, policies and procedures

The case study session will cover establishing an industrial and employment relations strategy including:

  • Key components of the IR strategy: Wage policy; workplace strategy design; minimum employment obligations; workplace conflict
  • Lessons to share

Matt Zadow, Executive General Manager – Human Resources, Toll Group


Enterprise bargaining strategies 

The rules governing collective bargaining have become more complex while the issues that employers are dealing with have become more varied. This session will equip you with information and strategies to negotiate and implement workplace agreements and practical steps to comply with procedural and technical requirements in negotiation, voting and FWC approval processes.

Melbourne: Rohan Doyle, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
Sydney: Drew Pearson, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
Brisbane: Wendy Fauvel, Executive Counsel, Herbert Smith Freehills
Perth: Representative from Herbert Smith Freehills


How to effectively implement changes to casual employment payments and leave calculations

The Casual Conversion legislation came into place from 1 October 2018 with casual workers who are employed for an extended period doing similar jobs to permanent employees can claim that they are permanent, the session to cover:

  • Key issues in casual conversions to permanent and how to minimise the risk of such claims from casual workers
  • Recent case and impacts on payments and leave calculations

Brisbane: Jamie Robinson, Special Counsel, K&L Gates
Sydney, Melbourne and Perth: Representative from Sparke Helmore Lawyers


Networking and refreshment break


Workplace investigation - proper and ethical conduct of disciplinary investigations

  • An allegation has been made – should you investigate, mediate or counsel – the need for perspective
  • The critical importance of impartiality – first rule – stand well back from the investigation if you are the decision-maker
  • Finding ‘facts’ not ‘prejudices’ or ‘suspicions’ – applying Briginshaw
  • Appointing the investigator – avoid the ‘hired gun’
  • Your duty to act transparently – balancing the rights of the subject officer and the complainant
  • Disciplinary outcomes must be equitable and proportionate to the offence – Industrial Commissions and Courts have the last word

Susan Moriarty, Principal, Susan Moriarty & Associates


SYDNEY & PERTH: What is the law in relation to workplace bullying, how best to manage an incident and preventive measures

  • What is bullying and what are the laws relating to it?
  • Outcomes of recent workplace bullying cases
  • How best to manage a bullying incident and preventive measures
  • Procedures to be followed when a complaint is made

Perth: Joanne Alilovic, Director, 3D HR Legal   
Sydney: Michael Byrnes, Partner, Swaab

BRISBANE & MELBOURNE: New labour hire laws in Australia - minimising the risks for employers is your business compliant?

Update on the new legislation introducing labour hire schemes in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

  • Review of new schemes and who is covered
  • Reviewing your labour hire model
  • Key features, obligation and penalties
  • Fair Work Ombudsman actions involving labour hire companies and accessorial liability
  • The Victorian Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work – lessons for employers

Brisbane: Stephen Hughes, Principal Lawyer, Franklin Athanasellis Cullen
Melbourne: Kathy Dalton, Director and Principal, Workdynamic Australia