Christchurch Schedule

Thursday 16 May 2019



Registration opens



Opening remarks from the Chairperson 


 Mary Crimp, Partner, Harmans Lawyers

9:15am   Employment law reform - what does the future hold?

The pace of change in workplace relations has ramped up over the last 12 months, with a raft of amendments due to take effect in the coming months.

  • Overview of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill (the Amendment Bill)
  • Reinstatement as the primary remedy in unjustified dismissal cases
  • Labour-hire arrangements - Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill
  • Proposed changes to privacy laws and their implications for employee data
  • Future of the 90 day trial period

 Andrew Shaw, Managing Partner, Lane Neave

10:00am   Bringing clarity to the Holidays Act

As the Holidays Act Taskforce works its way through a full review of the Holidays Act, this session will provide some explanation on enduring areas of complexity and likely amendments.

  • Timetable for the Holidays Act Working Group’s review of the Holidays Act 2003
  • How to handle complex working arrangements that fall outside the standard working week
  • Calculating entitlements and payments for irregular hours and shift work
  • How to handle commission, incentives overtime and allowances
  • When to use Relevant Daily Pay (RDP) or Average Daily Pay (ADP) methods to determine BAPS leave
  • Calculating annual holidays using ordinary weekly pay (OWP) or average weekly earnings (AWE)

Gillian Service, Partner, MinterEllisonRuddWatts



Morning tea

11:15am   Health and safety law update

With penalties for breaches of health and safety laws increasing six-fold, it’s never been more important for HR professionals to ensure compliance with health and safety rules.

  • Penalties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA)
  • Sentencing trends under the new penalty regime
  • Implictaions of Stumpmaster & Others v WorkSafe New Zealand [2018]
  • What approach is the High Court applying to sentencing bands?
  • Employers’ obligations relating to drugs and alcohol in the workplace

 Susan Rowe, Partner, Buddle Findlay

12:00pm   Industrial relations and union rights in 2018 and beyond

The last 12 months have seen significant levels of industrial action across the country, and the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is proposing substantial changes to labour law.

  • Collective bargaining for multi-employer collective agreements
  • How will the new Fair Pay Agreements (FPA) bargaining model work in practice?
  • The relationship between FPAs and other agreements
  • What does the 30 day rule mean for your collective agreements?
  • Partial strike pay deductions – when can employers garnish wages for low level industrial action?
  • New rules regarding union communication

Kylie Dunn, Partner, Russell McVeagh



Networking lunch

1:45pm   Changes to domestic violence leave

The Domestic Violence - Victims Protection Bill will come into effect on 1 April 2019. This 15-minute session will provide an overview of the changes.

  • Overview of the Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Act 2018
  • Practical implications of the new rules for employers

 Shauna McClelland, Director, Employer Lawyer

2:00pm   Practical guidelines for discipline, termination and personal grievances

This session will draw on real-life scenarios to discuss procedurally fair and compliant discipline and termination procedures to apply in your workplace.

  • Procedural requirements for conducting disciplinary meetings
  • How many warnings should be provided prior to dismissal?
  • Common mistakes that employers make during the disciplinary process
  • How to avoid constructive dismissal claims
  • Step-by-step guide to handling personal grievances that are lodged during disciplinary proceedings

 Jackie Behrnes, Partner, Anthony Harper

2:45pm   Afternoon refreshments and networking break
3:00pm   Medical incapacity and termination

Dismissals involving medical issues are fraught with risk. Employers considering the termination of a sick employee should ensure fair and reasonable processes are followed.

  • Overview of the core principles and lessons from Lyttelton Port Company v Arthurs [2018]
  • How long must employers keep jobs open for long term absent employees?
  • How to carry out a fair enquiry about whether to dismiss an employee on medical grounds
  • Balancing fairness to the employee with the reasonable dictates of practical business requirements
  • What do the courts consider to be a reasonable time to recover from an injury or illness?

 Andrew Riches, Partner, Saunders & Co

3:45pm   Workplace mental health and the law

This 15-minute session will provide an overview of the legal risks that can arise when dealing with workplace mental health.-

  • Discrimination on mental health grounds - Human Rights Amendment Act 2001
  • Psychological harm and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

 Penny Shaw, Managing Partner, Penny Shaw Employment Law 

4:00pm   Panel: When rights collide - discipline and mental health in the workplace

In this thought-provoking panel, our team of lawyers and experts will provide a framework for navigating the ethical and legal dilemmas that arise when the mental health issues of one employee impact the physical and mental health and safety of others.

  • Balancing the needs of the individual with the interests of the business and workforce
  • WorkSafe New Zealand’s approach to bullying and serious mental harm
  • When can you terminate an employee whose behaviour compromises others’ mental health?
  • Striking a balance between the rights of the employee and the obligations of employers to ensure a productive and safe workplace
  • Investigating and managing a potential undisclosed mental health issue that impacts the workforce
  • What role should HR professionals play in counselling an employee with mental health issues?

 Julia Hurren, Associate, Duncan Cotterill
Brad McDonald, Partner, Godfreys Law
Jonathan Black, Organisational Psychologist, Farsight Limited



Conference concludes

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