With the Global Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak evolving daily, our priority first and foremost is to protect the health and safety of our people, their families and our clients, and to ensure the continuity of legal services to our clients.

We have been and will continue to follow the advice and guidance of the Australian Government and the World Health Organization.

WE HAVE ENACTED OUR PANDEMIC PLAN

In January 2020 when the outbreak started, we took immediate steps to ensure all our people remained safe. As the outbreak expanded globally, we enacted our Pandemic Plan which is a component of our broader Business Continuity Plan (BCP). Our BCP team is meeting daily to ensure we are minimising risk in all the ways that we can, while still supporting our clients in relation to ongoing service delivery and other business as usual.

Our BCP and its Pandemic Plan is the reference point for all activity around COVID-19 mitigation and continued service delivery. We are making adjustments to the policies and processes that support this plan daily, as we continue to manage COVID-19 mitigation activities. Importantly, we do not anticipate at this time any adjustments that are likely to impact on our service delivery to clients.

Part of our BCP plan includes:

  • An international and domestic travel ban for all staff and partners.
  • The vast majority of our employees are working from home and utilising safe IT infrastructure and secure platforms
  • All staff are encouraged and supported to conduct video or telephone/virtual client meetings in place of visits to and from client premises, where possible.
  • Regularly communicating up-to-date information to all staff on safety and workplace health protocols around avoiding exposure to COVID-19 and associated infection vectors.
  • Robust policies and processes in place to manage any staff exposure or premises exposure to COVID-19.
  • Measures to understand staff care obligations (children, elderly and unwell family members) and to proactively manage team resourcing.
  • Additional health and hygiene measures are being implemented throughout our offices to help ensure the health of those staff members and anyone necessarily visiting the offices throughout this period.

Our offices remain open, supported by a small number of staff who are essential to the ongoing running of the practice.

There are robust policies and processes in place to guide critical interpersonal interaction in our offices throughout this period, including health and hygiene measures and social distancing practices

STAFF SUPPORT

Supporting our people through this unprecedented period of change and uncertainty, and helping them remain healthy, well, connected and safe, is a major priority.

Our staff can directly contact members of our BCP and Human Resources teams with any questions or concerns via a dedicated COVID-19 email hotline. They also have access to confidential counselling through the Centre for Corporate Health. We are working on a number of measures to help ensure our people can continue to connect remotely, and to share their experiences, insights and thoughts in a safe and supportive environment.

For more information please contact Linda Branton on 02 8281 4594 or linda.branton@cbp.com.au. 

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2020.