Wellington Agenda – Employment Law Masterclass New Zealand

Wellington Agenda

EMPLOYMENT LAW MASTERCLASS WELLINGTON | 13 MAY 2021

Intercontinental Wellington | 13 May 2021

9:00 am

Opening remarks from the chairperson

Blair Scotland

Partner, Dundas Street Employment Lawyers

9:10 am

Changes to New Zealand employment law following the election

  • Overview of the main changes to employment law in 2020 and 2021
  • Timeline of changes to sick leave entitlements
  • Increase to the minimum wage
Blair Scotland

Partner, Dundas Street Employment Lawyers

9:40 am

Employees behaving badly: Managing poor performance and conduct

This session will provide guidance on managing disciplinary procedures for employees who are underperforming or committing misconduct.

  • What procedures should you follow during a disciplinary process?
  • How to conduct a disciplinary process in a hybrid work from home setting
  • Does drug and alcohol use while working from home constitute misconduct?
  • How and when can you terminate an employee who is a ‘bad fit’?
  • Practical tips for dealing with attempts to derail the disciplinary processes
Andrea Pazin

Senior Associate, Bell Gully

10:20 am

What does the Equal Pay Amendment Bill mean for employers?

New Zealand's Parliament unanimously passed new legislation to address pay equity issues in the pay rates of sectors with female-dominated workforces. What does this mean for your workplace?

  • The Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020 - new processes for pay equity claims
  • What are the essential elements of a fair pay agreement?
  • How to ensure there is no differentiation between pay rates for employees
  • What records need to be maintained regarding pay rates and roles?
  • How to evaluate whether responsibilities are substantially similar?
  • How to defend a claim of pay inequality
Andy Bell

Principal, Bell & Co

11:30 am

Scenario: Disciplining an employee who has a mental health issue

This case study presentation will take the delegates through a hypothetical scenario involving an employee with a complex combination of performance, conduct and mental health concerns.

  • What are the laws relating to employee mental health?
  • Does the employer have a legal duty to accommodate employees with mental health concerns?
  • How to handle a personal grievance that is raised by an employee who is subject to disciplinary proceedings and is suffering from a mental illness
  • Can you proceed with disciplinary proceedings if the employee is absent on mental health grounds?
  • What are the legal risks of conducting disciplinary proceedings when the employee has a mental illness?
  • Managing bullying claims that are linked to stress claims by the alleged victim
Sean O’Sullivan

Partner, Wotton + Kearney

12:10 pm

Triangular employment relationships, independent contractors and dependent contractors

There have been a number of recent developments relating to staff engaged under triangular employment relationships and independent contractors, and change is on the horizon for dependent contractors. This session will outline these developments and future reform.

  • Triangular employment relationships – what are they, and what are the risks and liabilities for all parties, including under the recent amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000?
  • Implications for independent contractors of the Employment Court's decision in Leota v Parcel Express Limited (2020), and have we seen a change in the cases since then?
  • What is a ‘dependent contractor’, and what basic employment rights are proposed to be extended to them under the Government's reforms?
Hamish Kynaston

Partner, Buddle Findlay

12:50 pm
1:50 pm

Lessons from the Covid-19 lockdowns

After the lockdown, some employers were slapped with penalties from the ERA for reducing hours and pay without obtaining consent from employees. How can employers prevent liability in the future?

  • What lessons did employers learn during the lockdowns?
  • Should you consider a force majeure clause into your employment agreements?
  • How to obtain employee consent to future changes
Helen Pryde

Senior Associate, Duncan Cotterrill

2:30 pm

Holidays Act and short-term incentive payments – are you compliant?

Our presenter will discuss the far-reaching implications of the Metropolitan Glass case on the calculation of leave payments.

  • Do you need to review your short-term incentive scheme payments?
  • Lessons from the Metropolitan Glass & Glazing Limited case from 2020 regarding incentives
  • Why the Employment Court ruled that performance-based incentive payments are included in holiday pay calculations
  • What is the legal definition of a short term incentive and bonus payment (STI)?
  • Are STI “discretionary payments” or “gross earnings” under the Holidays Act 2003?
  • Do you need to review your leave policies?
Rebecca Rendle

Partner, Simpson Grierson

3:40 pm

Medical incapacity: balancing employee dignity with business interests

What should HR professionals do when an employee wants to work but is restricted by their own health issues? Our presenter will provide guidance on one of the most emotionally charged areas of employment law, medical incapacity.

  • What is the legal definition of medical incapacity?
  • What documentation needs to be provided to prove medical incapacity?
  • How long should an employer wait before dismissing the absent employee on medical grounds?
  • Balancing the employee’s and employer’s rights
  • How to preserve the employee’s dignity throughout the process
June Hardacre

Partner, MinterEllisonRuddWatts

4:20 pm

Personal grievances: investigating, documenting and managing grievances

With the average personal grievance claim costing employers a significant amount, it’s worthwhile investing in strategies to resolve claims quickly.

  • How to investigate and respond to a personal grievance claim
  • How to prevent a personal grievance claim from escalating
  • Practical tips for resolving a dispute through mediation before the case goes to the ERA
  • When should you settle and when should you contest a PG claim?
Simon Martin

Partner, Quigg Partners

Michael Quigg

Partner, Quigg Partners

5:00 pm
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