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Workplace change for the Covid recovery

20 November 2020 | Australia
Legal Briefings


Australian Industrial Relations reforms

In May 2020, the government announced its intention to introduce workplace changes to support the rebuilding of a post-Covid economy. Join our Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety team as we unpack the headlines and follow the latest developments on the IR reform.

In this series, we present a series of articles and videos designed to bring you quickly up to speed, in what is a significant and rapidly changing area of risk for Australian organisations.


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The post-Covid workplace: IR Reform

Anthony Longland, Partner

17 November 2020

Announcements will shortly be made about changes to the Fair Work Act. They will have wide ranging impacts on all workplaces throughout Australia.

In May 2020 the Prime Minister described the reforms as necessary to enable the Australian economy to rebuild from the Covid-19 recession. Shortly thereafter the Treasurer said industrial relations reform was “the first cab off the rank” in the Government’s effort to stimulate job creation in the post Covid economy.

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Award simplification – we’d like to do it, but we just can’t work out how

Anthony Wood, Partner and Shivchand Jhinku, Partner

20 November 2020

In our second article in the series, Anthony Wood and Shivchand Jhinku consider progress in relation to the process of award simplification through the government’s working group.

Assuming that the public commentary is correct, most informed observers will be unsurprised if this latest award simplification process fails to make widespread changes. After all, we have experienced award simplification and award modernisation in the past decades, but awards have continued to survive, largely intact.

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When is casual permanent? Finding a workable definition

Drew Pearson, Partner and Wendy Fauvel, Executive Counsel

24 November 2020

In our third article in the series, Drew Pearson and Wendy Fauvel discuss the casual employment relationship in the context of the government’s Casual working group.

The are some difficulties with reaching a one-size-fits-all approach to the definition of casual employment that applies in Australian workplaces. We anticipate the new definition will attempt to strike a balance between the relationship that was agreed upon at the time of engagement and the one that evolves in practice.

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