The ALLA Conference 2022 will be held towards the end of the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, amidst the backdrop of a cautious return to some semblance of normality as businesses and workers move from the ‘lockdown’ phase to attempting to ‘live with COVID’. The adjustment to ‘COVID-normal’ has also coincided with a resurgence in the notion of ‘freedom of contract’ in the employment sphere and a retreat by the courts from the task of moderating unfairness resulting from a disparity in bargaining power.

The implications of the High Court’s decisions in CFMMEU v Personnel Contracting Pty Ltd and ZG Operations Australia Pty Ltd v Jamsek and the focus on the formal terms of the contract at the time of formation will be central to discussions about the ‘COVID-normal’ world of work.

The wider implications of these and other developments for the regulation of work will be explored at the conference, including hybrid working, the (non-)return to offices and other in-person workplace settings, ongoing working-from-home arrangements for many workers, and the position of large proportions of the workforce for whom working on-site has remained a constant throughout the pandemic.

Many other aspects of labour law and employment relations will be discussed including those arising from the following sub-themes:
• The High Court of Australia’s ‘rewriting of the rules’ relating to determining the nature of work contracts (employee/independent contractor distinction, definition of ‘casual’)
• The regulation of casual employment (including the High Court’s approach, 2021 Fair Work Act amendments, Victorian Government’s sick pay guarantee scheme)
• Post-federal election landscape for labour law/workplace relations
• Workplace equality in a COVID-normal environment
• AI’s impact on work: recruitment, surveillance, gig work
• Wage stagnation, the contraction of enterprise bargaining, and the post-pandemic position of unions and industrial action
• Work health and safety in the COVID-normal work context and more broadly
• Underpayments, enforcement and wage theft legislation

In addition to our keynote speakers and plenary panels the conference will feature over 35 papers; paper abstracts are accessible by clicking the button below.

Register for Attendance

The full conference program is accessible by clicking the button below.