Whilst 2020 took us all by surprise, 2021 will continue to be a year of huge uncertainty, bringing with it a complex range of legal issues that every business will need to be aware of.
The only way to survive and thrive is to be prepared. Our multi-disciplined team offers you a holistic and flexible approach to help you adapt to our rapidly changing world and the legal landscape that governs it.
Here are the key issues that we believe we need to prepare for:
Continuing to be lock-down ready
Despite Covid-19 vaccine roll-out plans, the emergence of new virus variants means that we still need to be prepared to go into lock-down at any given time. From restructuring your business to renegotiating supplier contracts and managing employees, a solid plan will ensure that you’re not caught off-guard again.
Testing and vaccination
We need to be ready to understand and respond to issues such as whether, and in what circumstances, vaccination can be mandated in a workplace, or by a supplier of services, or other organisation (such as a sporting association). Ongoing Covid-19 testing and vaccination issues will affect most businesses, but especially those in vulnerable sectors such as health, aged care, tourism and hospitality.
Industrial Relations reforms to the Fair Work Act 2009
Just prior to Christmas 2020 amendments were proposed to the Fair Work Act. Drafted in response to employment issues that arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fair Work Amendment Bill proposes a number of changes that will affect all businesses including redefining casual employment, extending additional flexibilities to some distressed sectors, reforming the enterprise bargaining process including clarifying the better-off-overall test allowing longer term greenfields agreements, and introducing a new criminal offence for dishonest and systematic wage underpayments.
Anticipated legislative reforms to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984
After the federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report release in March 2020, employers of choice should be implementing programs in anticipation of reforms and greater scrutiny of their workplace culture by employees, regulators and the media.
Capitalising on opportunities
The expression ‘never waste a crisis,” has never rung truer than right now. An agile business that is thriving will be well-placed to seize the inevitable opportunities that arise, rather than spending energy, time and money on trying to survive.
2021 is not the time to sit back and wait and see what will happen. We need to act on the lessons we learned last year, plan for changes that we know are in the works, and prepare for the unexpected. The MV team are just a phone call away, so please don’t hesitate to call us to help you get ready for a year of business as unusual.