LawSense School Employment Law – Right to Disconnect, Contracts, Recruitment, Redundancy

Date12 June 2024
Time12.00pm-4.00pm AEST (Syd/Melb/Bris time)
VenueLive Online with recording (recording access expires 12 July 2024)
Price includes gst.
SectorNon-State Schools
CPDAddresses 7.2 of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers


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12.00    LawSense Welcome

12.05    Chairperson’s Introduction

Belinda Reid, Head of Human Resources, Trinity Grammar School

12.10    Managing the New Right to Disconnect Laws

  • Examining the new right to disconnect laws, including meaning of “working hours” and unreasonable refusal by an employee
  • Understanding the implications for schools of the new laws, including implications with activities such as:
    • parent-teacher interviews, parent contact after school
    • camps and weekend work
    • marking assignments, writing reports
  • Exploring what changes you should consider in light of the new right to disconnect laws

School Employment Contracts and Arrangements: Navigating the Impacts of Law Changes and Updating, Selecting and Negotiating Optimal Arrangements

Staff Contracts/Arrangements in Schools

  • Exploring the different types of contracts used in schools and understanding the interplay between awards, enterprise agreements and recent changes to laws

Navigating Challenging Scenarios and Interplay – Fixed-Term Contracts, Casuals, Awards

  • Navigating challenges with fixed term contracts under the new Fair Work Legislation:
    • where consecutive contracts are for different roles
    • contracts for additional responsibilities or allowances
    • contracts covering other positions including for maternity leave
    • staff with multiple contracts, including a permanent contract with a fixed term for additional work/responsibility with monetary allowance or time release
  • Exploring challenges with casuals:
    • outlining recent law changes affecting the use of casuals in schools
    • exploring how the use of casuals can be restricted by other workplace arrangements/agreements
    • exploring use of casual contracts to help deal with the impacts of fixed-term contract restrictions
  • Examining changes to other types of staff contracts that should be considered in the current environment

Flexible Work Arrangements in a Changed Environment

  • Navigating rights, obligations and option in dealing with flexible work requests in the current environment

Ben Tallboys, Principal, Russell Kennedy Lawyers; Legal Consultant to Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA)

1.30      Break

1.45      Recruitment and Probation: Navigating Rights and Obligations and Optimising a School’s Position

Recruitment – Allowable Questions and Investigation, Discrimination, Optimising Policies

  • Examining key laws applying to the recruitment phase including privacy, discrimination and adverse action
  • Understanding what questions you can ask and information you can gather to optimise recruitment and comply with legal obligations
  • Meeting requests from unsuccessful candidates for information – what are you obliged to provide and navigating risks

Special Considerations with Senior Leader/Executive Recruitment

  • Exploring best practice due diligence in recruiting senior staff/school executives
  • Assessing values alignment between the school and executive


  • Exploring the application of probation to different arrangements/contracts with staff
  • Examining the application of probation where staff have already been in a role for some time, but change to a different role
  • Dismissing staff during the probation period – navigating rights, obligations and risks, including where the successful candidate omitted relevant information

Tim Longwill, Partner, McCullough Robertson Lawyers

2.45      Break

2.55      School Restructuring in the Current Environment: Identifying and Managing Key Risks in Redeployment and Redundancy and Responding to Claims

  • Examining key laws applying to restructuring, redeployment, and redundancy in schools
  • Exploring steps in preparing for restructure to optimise the process
  • Consultation – understanding when it is required and how it should be implemented
  • Identifying key considerations in redeployment:
    • when is redeployment necessary?
  • Dealing with potential claims by staff:
    • “genuine redundancy” and unfair dismissal
    • adverse action claims
    • complaints regarding selection for redundancy

Steven Troeth, Partner, Gadens

3.55      Chairperson’s Conclusion

4.00      Event Close

Presenters / panelists include:

Belinda Reid is the Head of Human Resources at Trinity Grammar School, Sydney. Belinda is passionate about staff wellbeing, performance management, reducing psychosocial injury and improving wellbeing through adapting workplace policies and practices to meet the emerging needs of staff.
Ben Tallboys provides sector-specific, practical legal solutions to schools across Australia. Ben is a passionate and effective advocate for principals dealing with complex matters relating to parents, staff and students, as well as their own employment.
Tim Longwill is a legal practitioner of over 20 years experience. He is a specialist industrial lawyer with significant exposure to the education sector. Tim was also recently named for the third year in a row as being among ‘Australia’s Best Lawyers’ by the Financial Review.
Steven Troeth has extensive experience in the education sector, including acting for independent and Catholic schools. He advises on employment, student and parent issues, including staff and teacher disputes, discrimination, bullying, cyber and social media issues, enterprise agreements and contractual disputes.

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