Thought Leadership

Year in Review: Employment, Safety & People

By Lindy Richardson, Catherine Dunlop

• 21 February 2020 • 2 min read

The Employment & Workplace team has summarised the most important employment, safety and industrial relations law cases of 2020 and the implications stemming from those cases for 2021 and beyond.

2020 has been one of the most challenging years we have experienced. Human Resources and Health & Safety teams have been at the very epicentre of significant changes in the way work is done in organisations, and this has required new and nimble ways of addressing issues, all within a changing regulatory framework. While we anticipate that the rate of change may slow a little, we expect 2021 will be a year of further innovation, consolidation and reform.

The dynamic between employers, employees and the workplace have forever changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the lines between home and work being blurred,
and questions about providing a healthy and safe work environment becoming a much talked about issue.

Many employers have changed the way mental health is talked about between teams and their managers. The regulators and courts and commissions have continued to grapple with the effects of the gig economy and casual workers, and a series of high profile underpayments have led to Victoria being the first state to introduce penalties relating to the deliberate withholding of wages under the Wage Theft Act 2020 (Vic).

We’ve seen increasing attention from safety regulators for many sectors and more landmark prosecutions. We are also seeing changes in the expectations from employees expecting flexible work. Finally, we expect to see legislative reforms from the Attorney General as part of the Commonwealth Government’s Industrial Relations reforms.

2020 In Review provides an overview of the major issues from the year and then examines cases in the following areas:

  • general employment law
  • employment law and the Fair Work Commission
  • workplace health and safety
  • industrial relations
  • what to watch in 2021.

Download your copy of the review

Related articles

Online Access