Thought Leadership

Year in Review: Employment, Safety & People

Our Employment, Safety & People team has summarised the most important employment, safety and industrial relations law cases of 2021 and the implications stemming from those cases for 2022 and beyond.

Most of us would have thought 2021 would be less challenging than 2020. However, as we have all experienced, it was a difficult year which has tested the resilience of our leaders and our people.

Again we have witnessed, and been proud to support our clients in People & Culture and Health & Safety teams navigate a plethora of changes and challenges.

We have all had to rapidly respond to superannuation changes, obligations to casual workers, sexual harassment legislation and, of course, mandatory vaccination directions, to name a few. While we anticipate COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge into 2022, we expect employers will be well equipped to handle a flexible workforce and to resume a somewhat normal way of working.

We are all well aware of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it continues to change the dynamic between employers, employees and the workplace. This is being seen in the form of mandatory vaccine mandates and now the possibility of the Great Resignation, as employees feel safe enough to begin looking for external opportunities and begin to question what it is they seek in a job, or even a career – or simply take time off after an inordinately stressful two years.

We expect 2022 will be another busy year for employers as international travel begins to open up, COVID-19 outbreaks are managed, grants from the pandemic are wound back, supply chains re-established and the federal election ramps up.

However, we believe the past 18 months or so has taught employers to be flexible, allowing them to meet these challenges with a new level of preparedness and resilience. We remain optimistic about the capacity of employers to evolve and adapt to a world of work that is changing at a turbocharged pace.

Our 2021 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
  • COVID-19
  • what to watch in 2022.

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