9.00AM Opening remarks from the Chair
In Auckland: Bill Hodge, Honorary Academic, University of Auckland
In Wellington: Susan Hornsby-Geluk, Managing Partner, Dundas Street
In Christchurch: Dean Kilpatrick, Director, McPhail Gibson & Zwart
9.10AM Legislation and regulatory roundup

It has been a busy 12 months in employment Law in New Zealand, with the Employment Relations Amendment Bill passing, the reporting back of the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group, and the Holidays Act Working Group due to report back in the middle of the year. This speaker sets the scene for the day by covering the key legal and regulatory changes in employment law over the last 12 months, and examining further changes to come.

Rob Towner, Barrister, Richmond Chambers
9.40AM Defining Good faith (and Mona Lisa’s smile)

The duty of good faith found statutory recognition in s 4 of the Employment Relations Act over 19 years ago. It has been suggested that Parliament’s intent has yet to be fully realised, particularly in the context of individual employment agreements. The accuracy or otherwise of that observation is assessed having regard to the way in which the duty has been put to work since 2000. Has it played a central role in the employment relationship or has it been a bit-player, wheeled on and off the stage?

Her Honour Christina Inglis, Chief Judge of the Employment Court
10.50AM An A-Z of effective investigations

A why and how of workplace investigations including:

  • Whether an investigation should be internal or external;
  • The all-important terms of reference;
  • How much detail is necessary;
  • What happens when new allegations emerge during the course of an investigation;
  • Who makes the big decisions after the facts have been established;
  • When an investigation can be deemed ‘sufficient’

and many more tactical decisions for HR managers, in-house counsel and external lawyers asked to advise on matters.

Graeme Colgan, Barrister and Employment Law Specialist
*Graeme Colgan was the former Chief Judge of the Employment Court
11.35AM Testing the limits of collective bargaining

Two recent court decisions (Affco New Zealand vs New Zealand Meat Workers Union and Jack’s Hardware & Timber vs First Union Inc) have shown the limits to collective bargaining, particularly as it related to employers bargaining in good faith. Both of these cases are significant in their own ways, and Bill will examine their implications for any organisation entering collective negotiations.

Dr Bill Hodge, Honorary Academic, University of Auckland
1.20PM Health & safety prosecutions under the HSWA – understanding penalties and procedures

There is a growing body of case law under the new Health & Safety at Work Act. The first cases to be prosecuted under the new law reveal a lot in relation to culpability bands and penalties, and the growing number of enforceable undertakings show a range of alternatives to prosecution. This session examines the HSWA case law to date and what it means for you.

Matthew Ferrier, Senior Associate, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
2.05PM Legal drugs and medications – a blind spot affecting your workplace?

While many workplace drug and alcohol policies target illegal substances, workers can suffer the same impairment from legal prescription medications. With the legalisation of cannabis becoming a possibility, this session is a timely review of drug testing policies and impairment testing, as it applies to legal drugs and medications.

Johanna Drayton, Partner, Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law
3.10PM Mental health in the workplace: understanding your obligations

While mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression are gaining increasing awareness in society, it can still be difficult to understand an employer’s rights and obligations. This session aims to clarify key employment issues with a mental health element, including managing long term stress leave, medical incapacity, termination and performance management where they may be a mental health aspect.

In Auckland: Carl Blake, Senior Associate, Simpson Grierson
In Wellington and Christchurch: Mike Mercer, Senior Solicitor, Simpson Grierson
3.55PM Regulatory review

We close the conference with MBIE giving an overview of key trends and issues facing the inspectorate, including:

  • Holidays Act: the issues, enforcement, remediation and rectification. ?
  • What is the liability for ‘persons involved’ in employment standards breaches? Tracy Torrance, Team Leader, Labour Inspectorate, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
4.40PM Closing remarks from the Chair and end of Conference

Conference attendance earns 6 CPD hours.