April 13, 2020   |   Fair Work   |   Partners

How to return to business as usual without a COVID-19 workplace claims hangover

Have you had a moment to think what your business will look like after the coronavirus pandemic has passed? What will your workforce look like? Will the faces by the water-cooler be familiar or new?

You may not be thinking about the above but these are just some of questions HR managers, business owners and senior executives really need to be asking themselves now.

In the COVID-19 climate, businesses and employees alike are doing their best to take each day as it comes and stay up to date with health and government announcements.

There have been (and continue to be) a raft of changes to workplace laws, including amendments to modern awards and new laws regarding the Jobkeeper wage subsidy. Generally, these changes have been viewed as necessary and positive as they go some way to helping those impacted.

In speaking with senior managers, HR managers and business owners, we know that tough decisions still need to be made about whether to keep staff on, stand them down, negotiate reduced pay or, in some instances, make them redundant.

There can be, in such a climate, the temptation to act first and strategise second. We caution businesses against this approach and encourage decision-makers to lead from the front when it comes to their people.

It has never been more important than right now to ensure your business is prepared for the workplace legal claims that are likely to come.

Already, we have observed a spike in claims for unfair dismissals.

In the weeks, months and years ahead, we expect to see employees (even those who were lawfully managed or terminated) making claims arising from the conduct they’ve experienced from their employer during this pandemic.

No business wants to come out of this pandemic only to find themselves putting out fires from workplace claims for years to come because they unknowingly took the wrong course of action.

When the Coronavirus pandemic does pass – and it will – those businesses who lead from the front, take advice early and managed their people in a consultative and lawful manner, will be best positioned to return swiftly to business as usual without a COVID-19 claims hangover.

How can Mason Ledger assist your business?

Mason Ledger launched in the midst of COVID-19, which has provided us with the unique ability to help our clients when they need us most. We understand what business owners are going through. We are a new breed of law firm and plan to shake things up in a positive way, combining a raft of client engagement models never before been seen in Australia – with the sole purpose of delivering more value to clients.

Our firm’s structure, people, technology and innovation strategy have been specifically designed to deliver top-tier legal services at a significantly better price point than traditional law firms. Plus, the current market conditions allow us to help ease the cash flow pressure many Western Australian businesses are feeling right now, by delivering pricing models which provide significant cost savings from day one at a time when our clients need it most.

Mason Ledger’s model cuts out the unnecessary overheads that law firms on-charge to their clients, and we are very happy to pass these cost savings directly to our clients to add more value to their businesses and in favour of building long term relationships of trust. Most importantly, the current market conditions allow us to show that we genuinely care – about both our people and our clients – in treating everyone with empathy, kindness and respect.

For information on proactively managing your workforce during COVID-19, feel free to contact me or my colleague, Beth;

Carla VinciulloCarla Vinciullo (Partner)

M: 0401 424 330

E: cv@masonledger.com.au

Connect with Carla on LinkedIn

 

Beth RobinsonBeth Robinson (Special Counsel)

M: 0401 424 740

E: br@masonledger.com.au

Connect with Beth on LinkedIn

 

This article was written by Carla Vinciullo, Partner – Employment & Workplace Relations at Mason Ledger.


Mason Ledger LogoMason Ledger is a full-service commercial law firm. When it comes to employment law, Mason Ledger helps clients with their employment, human resources, workplace, industrial relations and OH&S needs.