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Forum Program

Please note that the below is a preliminary program and subject to change. Information correct as at 16 January 2019.

Balancing Employment Law Rights and Obligations

Friday, 25 January 2019
13:00 – 14:00 Forum Registrations & Name Badge Collection
14:00 – 14:15


Mr Bernard Banks | Chair, Employment Law Committee, LAWASIA (NEW ZEALAND)
Ms Laurel Vaurasi
| President, Fiji Law Society (FIJI)

His Excellency Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konusi Konrote | President of Fiji

14:15 – 15:30 KEYNOTE SESSION
Migrant Labour Issues: The Rights of Migrant Workers and the Obligations of Employers

The issues faced by migrant workers and their employers are different in the various jurisdictions across our region. In this session four speakers from a range of Asia Pacific jurisdictions will focus on aspects of migrant workers’ rights and the corresponding obligations of their employers.

ChairMs Keat Ching Wong | ZUL RAFIQUE & partners (MALAYSIA)

Mr Eduardo Cruz 
| Corney & Lind Lawyers (AUSTRALIA)
Mr Michael Dias
 | Michael Dias & Associates (INDIA)
Mr John Dong | Shanghai Baohua Law Firm (CHINA)
Mr James Sloan | Siwatibau & Sloan (FIJI)

15:30 – 16:00 Afternoon Refreshments & Networking
16:00 – 17:30 SESSION 1
Emerging Issues: What will Work of the Future Look Like, and is there Potential for Uniformity of Model Terms and Conditions Across National and Transnational Employment?

The future of work is a tantalising issue and in this session speakers will give their perspectives on some of the future issues. These will include the future of work itself, and with the increasing trend of trans-national employment, are there opportunities to standardise some aspects of trans national employment? The laws of host and dispatching jurisdictions are obviously important and some terms and conditions are matters for trade unions and individual employees and their employers. However, there may be some terms and conditions which could be formulated for inclusion in a non-binding uniform code. This session explores some future possibilities.

ChairMr Brian Williamson | WilliamsonBarwick (AUSTRALIA)

Mr Mayank Francis Dias | Michael Dias & Associates (INDIA)
Mr Stephen Hughes | Franklin Athanasellis Cullen (AUSTRALIA)
Ms May Lu | Simmons & Simmons (CHINA)

Mr Bernard Banks | Gibson Sheat Lawyers (NEW ZEALAND)

18:00 – 20:00 Welcome Reception
Poolside Terrace, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa
Saturday, 26 January 2019
9:00 – 10:30 SESSION 2
Employment Law Implications of Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions bring with them important and often fundamental changes for employees. The implications can include redundancy, a change of employer, change of job content, technical redundancy, and the balancing of employment law obligations and the commercial imperatives such as meeting regulatory requirement disclosures to shareholders and the market. Speakers will look at aspects of this important interface between commercial and employment law realities.

Chair: Ms Wati M Seeto | Reserve Bank of Fiji (FIJI)

Mr Jon Apted
| Munro Leys (FIJI)
Dr Junlu Jiang | King & Wood Mallesons (CHINA)
Ms May Lu | Simmons & Simmons (CHINA)

10:30 – 11:00 Morning Refreshments & Networking
11:00 – 12:30 SESSION 3
Disciplinary Investigations: The Need to be both Effective and Fair

In most jurisdictions for disciplinary action by an employer to be valid and effective, it must be based on an investigation process that is fair to the employee. There is often a tension between what employees see as a fair process and what employers see as effective. Speakers will explore aspects of this tension and comment on how to achieve both fairness and effectiveness and explore some aspects of the range of situations where the needs of fairness and effectiveness arise.

Chair: Ms Poonam Maharaj-Wong | Neel Shivam Lawyers (FIJI)

Mr Graeme Colgan | Retired Chief Judge of the Employment Law Court (NEW ZEALAND)
Mr Brian Williamson | WilliamsonBarwick (AUSTRALIA)
Ms Keat Ching Wong | ZUL RAFIQUE & partners (MALAYSIA)

Hon Mr Justice Suresh Chandra
| Supreme Court of Fiji (FIJI)

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch & Networking
13:30 – 15:00 SESSION 4
Social Media, Privacy, and IT issues: Balancing Employment Law Rights and Obligations Where Business Information is Involved

The importance of social media and the development of IT are facts of life. The increasingly blurred distinction between work hours and private time, the elusive ‘work life balance’, is but one of the factors that adds to this complexity. The balancing of employees’ opportunities and rights to communicate through social media with employers’ corresponding interest in the social media activities of their employees, the privacy of employees and the protections employers are entitled to for their business information, are just some of the challenging and topical issues. Speakers from a range of jurisdictions will give their perspectives on aspects of this major an important topic.

ChairMr Graeme Colgan | Retired Chief Judge of the Employment Law Court (NEW ZEALAND)

Mr Sunil D B Abeyaratne | Bar Association of Sri Lanka (SRI LANKA)
Dr Gordon Hughes AM | Davies Collison Cave Law (AUSTRALIA)
Ms Bessie Liu | Lanbai Law Firm (CHINA)

15:00 – 15:30 Afternoon Refreshments & Networking
15:30 – 16:45 SESSION 5
Open forum

This will be an interactive session comprising a panel including some presenters from the business session, and with opportunities to contribute comments and pursue further any of the topics covered in the formal sessions, and other topical employment law issues in our region.
16:45 – 17:00 Closing remarks
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