34th Annual Industrial and Employment Relations (IER) Summit

Essential updates on new regulation & case law & ER best practice for all New Zealand IER professionals

Event Details


Registration and coffee
Opening remarks from the Chair
Susan Hornsby-Geluk, Managing Partner, Dundas Street Employment Lawyers
Ministerial address – Changing times for employment law in New Zealand

Looking into the recent ER reform impacting workplaces in New Zealand
• The importance of wellbeing in the workplace and protecting vulnerable employees
• Discussing what the future holds to create better work environments in New Zealand


(Under Invitation and pending leave from the House)

Hon Iain Lees-Galloway, Minister for ACC, Immigration, Workplace Relations & Safety & Deputy Leader of the House
Setting the scene – labour market and employment law trends

• New world working models and their challenges
• Identifying key legal issues and trends
• Analysing movement in ERA and Court awards
• Is the law keeping up with the changing employment landscape in New Zealand?

James Warren, Partner, Dentons Kensington Swan
Greg Cain, Partner, Dentons Kensington Swan
Morning break
Panel: Adjusting to the employment law changes in New Zealand

• What are the most significant recent changes affecting the employment law landscape in New Zealand?
• How does this affect the work that you are involved in?
• Where do you see the future of New Zealand employment law heading?

Dr Bill Hodge, Honorary Academic – Faculty of Law, University of Auckland
Graeme Colgan, Barrister and Employment Law Specialist
Paul Mackay, Manager Employment Relations Policy, Business New Zealand
Kristen Weitz, Head of People Experience, The Warehouse Group
John Hannan, Barrister, Bankside Chambers
Charlotte Parkhill, Partner, Dentons Kensington Swan
Designing the workforce of the future – combining employer and employee demand

How the workplace and workforce are changing in New Zealand
• What is a truly flexible working arrangement and what are the legal obligations an employer needs to comply with including health and safety obligations?
• With the emergence of AI, who has responsibility and liability for their mistakes?
• Obligations to and benefits of a multigenerational workforce

Gillian Service, Partner, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
Lunch break
Managing difficult employment relationships and post termination conduct

Conducting difficult conversations with employees and “without prejudice” discussions
• Dealing with relationship breakdowns and incompatibility in the workplace
• Entering into settlement agreements and what recourse is there if confidentiality is breached.

Susan Hornsby-Geluk, Managing Partner, Dundas Street Employment Lawyers
Conundrums in achieving equal pay and a fair pay agreement system in New Zealand

• Defining pay equity, what it means in the New Zealand climate, and how it has developed here
• What has happened to the recommendations made by the Ministerial Fair Pay Agreement Working Group?
• Exploring scenarios which illustrate how both of these work according to legislation and case law in New Zealand
• Discussing further aspects that need to be explored and may not working in the current climate

Steph Dyhrberg, Partner, Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law
Afternoon Break
The Health and Safety at Work Act (2015) - what you need to know

• How the new Health and Safety at Work Act has been impacting the employment law landscape in New Zealand
• Has there been a test case on bullying in the workplace yet?
• What has been the impact on prosecutions and sentencing, and are there any important recent case precedents from New Zealand or overseas?
• How do you prepare for a visit from the Labour Inspector?

Grant Nicholson, Partner, Anthony Harper
Managing medical incapacity and mental health in the workplace

• Best strategies for handling medical incapacity in the workplace
• How should employers manage employees’ mental health f rom a health and safety perspective?
• How should an employee respond to a claim by an employee or an enquiry by WorkSafe?
• Relevant case law on medical incapacity and mental health

Tim Clarke, Partner, Bell Gully
Panel: The interface between performance management, stress and mental health

Join medical, legal and HR practitioners to discuss what you need to be aware of in the workplace when dealing with employees.
• How do you respond when people approach you about medical incapacity, stress and an inability to be able to do their job?
• Does what is legally required go far enough to ensure safe, healthy working environments?
• Are there strategies or toolkits available to help manage these issues in the workplace?

Johanna Drayton, Partner, Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Lawyers
Elizabeth Berryman, Founder & Director, Chnnl
Dr Mike England, Lead Occupational Physician, Fit For Work
Summary remarks from the Chair & Networking Drinks
Welcome back from the Chair
Steph Dyhrberg, Partner, Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law
Discussion point – getting collective bargaining and union negotiations right
Jennifer Mills, Director - Head of Practice, Jennifer Mills & Associates
Simon Mitchell, Barrister
Navigating the minefield of investigations

• Outlining why investigations are an important process to get right in the current employment climate
• Looking into types of investigations, where to start, and explaining the principles that must be followed?
• Highlighting best practice and procedure to follow in your workplace

Graeme Colgan, Barrister and Employment Law Specialist
Morning break
Breakout sessions begin - Delegates choose session A or B
Amanda Douglas, Partner, Wynn Williams
Steph Dyhrberg, Partner, Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law
How to restructure and redeploy staff

A practical guide to correct procedure and avoiding pitfalls with restructuring and redeployment
• Outlining the legal requirements
• Practical strategies to get it right first time and minimise legal risk
• Explaining the case law and what you need to know

Mark Hammond, Partner, Tompkins Wake
Fiona Dalziel, Senior Solicitor, Tompkins Wake
Case study – Workplace Response to Domestic Violence

• Why you should consider going beyond new domestic violence legal requirements for employers
• Key recommendations and pitfalls to avoid in your policies and procedures
• The critical role of ‘First Responders’ in supporting staff who experience domestic violence
• A look at the workplace domestic violence programme established by DVFREE Tick partner IAG

Holly Carrington, DVFREE & Policy Advisor, Shine
Kayla Ratumaitavuki, Organisational Development Consultant, IAG
Examining the boundaries of testing for drug use in your workplace

• Looking into the influence the possible legalisation of medical marijuana may have on the workplace
• Discussing use, abuse, impairment, and how these impact on an employee’s ability to do their job
• Exploring the boundaries of the legislation and case law governing this area

Amanda Douglas, Partner, Wynn Williams
Anthony Drake, Partner, Wynn Williams
Redefining bullying and harassment in the workplace

• The ongoing impact of the #metoo movement on this area of workplace relations
• Best practice and strategies for handling these and other complaints appropriately
• What is the best way to cultivate a culture that prevents inappropriate behaviours?

James Pullar, Partner, Taylor Shaw Barristers & Solicitors
Are you in a triangular relationship? – What the new laws could mean for your place of employment

• Looking into why the law required changing in this area
• Discussing the new legislation and how the courts are beginning to interpret it
• Best strategies and tips for managing these types of relationships to get them right

Sherridan Cook, Partner, Buddle Findlay
Managing changes to privacy laws

• What are the changes to the privacy laws that HR professionals need to be aware of?
• What is the best way to manage these changes in the workplace?

Jessie Lapthorne, Partner, Duncan Cotterill
Creating employment arrangements to fit unique industries

• How do trial and probationary periods work in practice?
• Dealing with fixed term and seasonal arrangements
• What are the changes to employing migrant workers and what do employers need to know about the new accreditation system?

Nick Mason, Partner, Pitt & Moore
Happy and unhappy holidays with the Holidays Act (2003)

• An update on the working group recommendations and where the review process is at
• What are the issues the regulators see most often and how the statistics shape up
• Understanding the considerations to better ensure compliance

Tracy Torrance, Team Leader, Labour Inspectorate, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
Claire English, Senior Solicitor, Ministry of Business & Innovation and Employment
Afternoon Break
Plenary continues
Closing International Keynote: Finding your marshmallows - the role of implicit assumption

• Looking at the role implicit assumptions play in any workplace culture
• How they impact our ability to think and problem solve rationally
• How the humble marshmallow provides key insights into just how vulnerable we all are to the dangers of implicit assumptions
• Looking at techniques available to make these insidious assumptions more explicit.

Sean Brady, Managing Director, Brady Heywood
Closing remarks from the Chair and end of conference
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