Corrs Chambers Westgarth launches its annual Workplace Mid-Year Review

  • Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s third annual workplace report

  • Charts the rise of the peer to peer economy

  • Trends towards a freelancing workforce intensifying

The changing nature of work and how employers’ and workers’ legal rights are affected in a world of increased contracting and flexible work arrangements is the subject of the third landmark annual review of the Australian employment, workplace and safety landscape, published by Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Navigating the complexity of workplace change and its intersection with law is critical for Australian businesses and their employees amid the rise and rise of the sharing economy and the concurrent trend towards contracting and flexible workforces, the report states.

“We are now witnessing the rapid growth of “peer-to-peer” platforms like Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Mojo Power and 99designs – bringing new challenges to Australia’s traditional approach to workplace relations and safety regulation,’’ said John Tuck, Partner at Corrs Chambers Westgarth. “From this third annual review it is clear that this trend is intensifying and it presents profound challenges and opportunities.’’

This year, Corrs explored five key issues that the firm believes Australian employers need to be engaging with in the modern workplace.

These five themes are: digital disruption and the future of work; Australia’s 21st century infrastructure needs; the public sector workforce; social enterprises and the not-for-profit sector; and business culture and risk.

The report identifies the three central issues that businesses need to focus on to increase their value and minimise risk as the changing expectations about leadership and culture, understanding workplace mental health, and managing security threats.

On future organisations, Corrs explores what the workplace in the years ahead will look like and how businesses should adapt to digitisation and the advances in technology that are fundamentally changing the way we work.

Examining Australia’s 21st century infrastructure needs in detail, the report states that as a country, if we are to continue driving economic growth and increasing employment opportunities, investing in critical, sustainable infrastructure projects in an affordable way is essential.

“It is also clear that around Australia, federal, state and territory governments are finding that they need to deliver high quality public services with increasingly constrained budgets,” said Mr Tuck. “We highlight some of the challenges currently facing the public sector workforce in this section.”

“Social impact investing is slowly starting to have an increased take-up in Australia, and with the federal Government opting to support social enterprises through a new A$20 million fund, this sector is set to continue growing,” added Mr Tuck.

Corrs is committed to creating long-term value to its clients through its focus on the shape of future organisations, risk, restructuring from 20th century models, cost effective infrastructure delivery, human capital, the special needs of the public sector and start-ups.

“It has been a long-held ambition of the Corrs team to think outside the traditionally siloed approach to the categories of employment, discrimination, industrial relations and safety; to become true advisors who bring a holistic approach to solving new problems and seizing that next opportunity to drive the competitiveness of Australia and our clients,’’ said Mr Tuck.

This publication is introductory in nature. Its content is current at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should always obtain legal advice based on your specific circumstances before taking any action relating to matters covered by this publication. Some information may have been obtained from external sources, and we cannot guarantee the accuracy or currency of any such information.