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 Perth and online 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.

Due to the ongoing and developing Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria, we have elected to postpone all events scheduled to be held in Melbourne in 2020 until further notice.

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

Online: 6 October
Perth: 23 October, Duxton

Your investment

Full price
$750 + GST

Register Now




Online: Helen Donovan, Senior Associate, Allens
Perth: Kate Walawski, Partner, Murfett Legal   



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

Online: Erin Lynch, Partner, Vincent Young
Perth: Jillian Howard, Special Counsel, Hall and Wilcox


FWC Update

Online: Commissioner Wilson, Fair Work Commission

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.

Perth: Sarah Neideck, Senior Associate, HR Law*
(*session scheduled Online at 4.40PM)


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

Online: Chris Gianatti, Director, KHQ Lawyers  
Perth: Shannon Walker, Senior Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright Australia


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

Online: Georgia Simmonds, Senior Associate, Seyfarth   
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 Global Express


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.

Online: Wendy Fauvel, Executive Counsel, Herbert Smith Freehills
Perth: Rachel Lee, Senior Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills


Conversion and Characterisation; the changing face of casual employment

The landscape of workplace laws and arrangements for casual employees is dynamic and ever-changing. In this session we explore:

  • Recent developments in applicable workplace laws applying to casual employees (including casual conversion arrangements and the Fair Work Amendment (Casual Loading Offset) Regulations 2018 (Cth)).
  • The test for casual employment and the impact on payments and leave calculations (with consideration of recent high profile cases, Skene and Rossato).
  • Analysis of relevant implications and issues for employers (such as causes of action and strategies for mitigating these risks).
  • Recent developments and trends relating to casual employment (including the impact of Covid-19, the Jobkeeper scheme & potential reforms on the horizon).

Online: Ian Bennett,Special Counsel, Sparke Helmore Lawyers
Perth: Kathryn Maric , Special Counsel, Kingston Reid


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

  Online: Susan Moriarty, Principal, Susan Moriarty & Associates
  Perth: Kim Hodge, Partner, McCabe Curwood


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   

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

Online: Stephen Hughes, Principal Lawyer, Franklin Athanasellis Cullen