Co-Chairs' message, September 2020

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Dear friends,

2020 has indeed been a different and busy year for all of us! Events that have overtaken us in recent months make it seem like we are living in a completely different era compared to when we parted company in Seoul, South Korea last autumn. Unfortunately, and despite the heavy preparations not least by our dear local colleagues, Covid-19 prevented us all from going to Madrid and spending important time together for which we were very sorry. We truly look forward to meeting with you all again but we will have to accept the virtual meeting space for quite some time to come.  

We are indeed in unchartered waters. For labour and employment lawyers, it has been a particularly challenging time. Not only did we have to adjust overnight to working from home, but most of us had to work 18-hour days, if not more, to cope with our clients’ needs.

After the most hectic and intense phases we also managed to dedicate some time to our committee matters and are pleased to share with you some of the initiatives we have participated in and are organising.

We participated and continue to participate in an LPD project to create an overview of the different measures that are being taken around the world in response to Covid-19. To date the overview includes 49 jurisdictions and sets out measures available in the context of employment. We are grateful to our members who readily responded to the questionnaire under demanding timelines. The overview may be accessed here and will be updated on a regular basis.

We have also organised a series of webinars that are open to non-IBA members as well. In keeping with our aspirations of maintaining a high standard, we have included in our panels either in-house lawyers or non-legal experts. The details of the past webinars can be accessed here. We plan to have more webinars in the course of the year and invite suggestions on topics as well as speakers.

Another project that we intend to roll out soon is a ‘Guidebook for Workplace Health and Safety’. As most nations return to work slowly, health and safety is and will continue to be of paramount importance in the coming months. On completion, the guidebook will be circulated to all members and third parties.

While we, like most of you, are sorely disappointed to miss out on both conferences this year, we are grateful that our members are well and safe. We plan to hold an open committee online meeting which may fill that void to a certain extent and hopefully allow many of you to share ideas of upcoming activities and more detailed topic-planning for future events and webinars within our committee.

For now, we hope you will all enjoy the read of the neat collection of articles included in this e-Bulletin, which were all compiled by our hardworking newsletter editors, and appreciate the work by the contributing authors for the conference this spring. Even though we did not realise the impacts of the pandemic at the time, all of the topics are general and worth attention as many aspects are settling in to slightly more ‘normal’ conditions.  

We take this opportunity to wish you the very best to weather this storm, and sincerely hope everyone is heathy and well. We look forward to interacting with you soon. Hopefully we will then all be able to reconvene at our spring conference in 2021!

With warm wishes,

Marianne and Sel


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