Auckland Schedule

Wednesday, 11 March 2020


Registration Opens


Opening remarks from the chairperson – Alexandra Wallace, Senior Associate, LangtonHudsonButcher


Case study: Employment litigation strategies from a NZ Law Awards finalist

In this session, hear from a finalist of the Litigation & Dispute Resolution Specialist Law Firm of the Year category of the New Zealand Law Awards, K3 Legal, about successful strategies in employment litigation.

  • Dealing with vexatious and frivolous claims from employees
  • How to succeed in pre-mediation negotiations
  • Minimising the time and financial cost of negotiating and handling claims
  • Negotiating with aggressive employees who make outrageous claims

Mark Kirkland, Director, K3 Legal


Availability provisions – clarifying uncertainties

Since their introduction, availability provisions have been shrouded in uncertainty. This has now been clarified by the Full Bench of the Employment Court. Here, Large Law Firm of the Year Winner Chapman Tripp will share their expertise on the far-reaching implications of the Postal Workers case.

  • Overview of Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa Inc v New Zealand Post Limited [2019]
  • If you rely on employees working overtime, do you need to pay compensation?
  • What does the EC determine to be reasonable compensation?
  • Are availability provisions limited to zero-hours contracts?

Marie Wisker, Partner, Chapman Tripp


Morning tea and refreshment break


Holidays Act calculations – the finer points

The Holidays Act remains arguably the most problematic area of HR and payroll practice.  In this session we will cover the key “problem areas” for employers and provide practical tips for achieving compliance.

  • Treatment of employees with variable pay and/or variable hours under the Holidays Act
  • The impact of changing work patterns under the Holidays Act
  • Treatment of “casual” employees
  • Practical real-life case studies and examples relating to payroll

Liz Coats, Partner, Bell Gully


Collective bargaining: Employer obligations and negotiation strategies

This session will offer practical strategies and procedural guidance on dealing with unions in the workplace and at the bargaining table.

  • Practicalities relating to the 30-day rule in the recruitment process for roles that are covered collective agreements
  • Collecting bargaining negotiation skills – proven strategies for win-win outcomes
  • Negotiation techniques to help you become a bettercollective bargaining negotiator
  • Guidance on the process, timeframe and procedures relating to bargaining documents
  • Procedure guidance relating to Individual Employment Agreements (IEAs)

Sherridan Cook, Partner, Buddle Findlay


Networking Lunch


WORKSHOP: Discipline and termination in today’s legal environment

Now more than ever, the disciplinary process can be complex and fraught with legal risks and exposures for employers. In this session, the New Zealand Law Awards Employment Law Specialist Firm of the Year winner SMB legal will share their award-winning expertise.

  • Is there a way to expedite the disciplinary process without incurring unacceptable risks?
  • At what point should you escalate from informal performance management to formal disciplinary proceedings?
  • When is dismissal considered justified?
  • What protection does a probationary period provide employers?
  • Weighing up the cost of retaining underperforming employees versus the cost and likelihood of grievances
  • Poor performance, misconduct and frustration of contract – what is the difference?
  • Disciplining employees with mental health concerns
  • How to successfully exit non-performers quickly and with dignity
  • Guidelines for limiting exposure to personal grievance claims

Bridget Smith, Partner, SBM Legal


Afternoon tea & refreshment break


What to consider for a flexible and digital workforce

In this interactive session, we will examine the key considerations for businesses seeking to flex within the existing employment law framework, and respond to a digitally savvy workforce.

  • What legal obligations does an employer need to be aware of?
  • What impact does a flexible, mobile and digital workforce have on health and safety?
  • What is the balance between employees’ privacy and a flexible and agile workforce?

Gillian Service, Partner, MinterEllisonRuddWatts


Award-winners panel: Navigating the changing roles and obligations of employers

Over the last few years, employers and HR departments have taken on more responsibility in the personal lives of employees. In this thought-providing panel, the winners of the New Zealand Law Awards will share their insight into the changing role of HR teams and employers.   

  • Domestic violence leave - practical application of domestic violence leave that leaves the mana of the employee intact
  • Changing obligations relating to union rights – where are we heading?
  • Managing the issue of work versus health (including health issues associated with pregnancy)
  • Medical incapacity and employer obligations – implications of Amcor Flexibles (New Zealand) Ltd v Gillan
  • Future of the Equal Pay Amendment Bill


Kylie Dunn, Partner, Russell McVeagh
John Farrow, Partner, Anderson Lloyd
Phillipa Muir, Partner, Simpson Grierson


Conference concludes

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