Asia Law Network together with the Law Society of Singapore, the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association and our Australian Counterparts, AlphaCreates and ASEAN Legal Tech Association, co-hosted the 2-day event which saw lawyers from Singapore and within the region visiting some of Singapore‘s companies and law firms to exchange ideas, share progress and fostered relationships between countries.
The third roundtable took place at the Development Bank of Singapore, and had lawyers from both Singapore and Australia discussing the topic: “Doing Business in Australia: A Guide for Singapore”.
Speakers for this Roundtable include:
Anthony Curtin, Co-Managing Partner, Merton Lawyers
Deepesh Daya, Senior Lawyer, Nexus Law Group
Jeremiah Chew, Of-Counsel, Ascendant Legal LLC
Hilary Rupawala, Asia Law Network (Moderator)
Setting Up Shop In Australia: What To Look Out For
Singaporean businesses will naturally have questions over how Australian laws and work cultures will differ from Singapore’s. In this vein, the speakers shared that Australian labour laws should not be underestimated. The rigorous set of labour laws offer a minimum wage, different awards depending on each position, and thorough termination rights to employees.
It becomes easy for employers to accidentally underpay employees that they may want to retain. The speakers share that even large franchises underpay their staff, but go through a lot of pain and litigation when they are caught and forced to correct this.
On work culture, there had been some concerns that Australian companies may have shorter working hours or a more relaxed pace compared to Singapore. To this end, our Australian speakers raised two points:
Firstly, responsiveness is largely dependent on individual firms. Deepesh assured that, for himself, he was always contactable and ready to assist clients with urgent requests beyond work hours. Instant messaging technology makes such responsiveness possible, but not an absolute given for every firm.
Secondly, a greater emphasis was being placed on meeting the needs of the millennials entering the workforce. To Anthony, millennials value greater flexibility in their hours and working conditions– he even had a colleague who was moving to London for a month, but was still ready to keep up with the work in the firm. This flexibility might mean that millennials are willing to work overtime, in exchange for greater choice over when, where, and how to approach their work.
New Industries and Problems
The technology, housing, and education sectors were growing industries that our speakers had identified. Often, these growing industries were interrelated. Technology remained an underlying reason to how industries were changing their work; the expanding education sector meant more students who subsequently required housing in the region.
Furthermore, with newer companies like Uber disrupting the industry, the gig economy has only continued to grow. With more freelancers or unregistered employment, it is likely that a regulatory overhaul will be done in the near future to ensure these new companies will keep in line with Australia’s strict labour laws.
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.