Conference Program


Thursday, 6 June 2024

12:00 – 19:00

Registration open



Meeting of representatives of national employment law associations

Hosted by Marie Janšová, Czech Republic PETERSEN SUITE ROOFTOP BAR

19:00 – 23:00



Friday, 7 June 2024

08:00 – 17:00

Registration open


09:15 – 12:30



09:15 – 10:30

EELA 2024 Welcome, Opening Speech and Keynote Speech

Welcome by Chair of EELA, Anna Jerndorf

Welcome by Dr. Páll Hreinsson, Iceland, President of the EFTA Court in Luxembourg

Welcome and introduction of Iceland by the Chair of the Conference Committee, Jón Sigurðsson


Fundamental Rights and the EU AI Act

Mr. Róbert Spanó, Iceland, Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, former President of the European Court of Human Rights

Robert Spano’s keynote speech will delve into the interaction between the European Union’s proposal for an Artificial Intelligence Act (“AI Act”) and fundamental rights.  Specifically, Robert will discuss the AI Act’s overarching framework, key points about how it seeks to regulate AI systems, and, in particular the ways in which entities that provide or deploy AI systems need to take account of their fundamental rights impacts. Robert will also address the high risk categorization of AI systems in the employment context and compare it to existing laws governing AI in employment.  Finally, Robert will conclude with his thoughts on how to best prepare for and navigate the likely enactment of the AI Act.

10:30 – 11:00 COFFEE BREAK
11:00 – 12:30 NORÐURLJÓS HALL


An expanding Internal Market

The European Union is facing significant geo-political challenges. This has led to much deeper thinking about enlargement of the EU, and the question of Europe of concentric circles has been raised again. We are meeting in a country which is not in the EU but in the EEA, already one form of outer tier membership, with access to the Internal market, where most of the EU employment law is applied. What might a Europe of concentric circles mean for the accession and neighbourhood countries and what might it mean for the future shape of labour law. 

Session leader:

Catherine Barnard, UK, Professor of European Union Law and Employment Law at the University of Cambridg

12:30 – 14:00 LUNCH – HARPA (2nd floor)
14:00 – 15:15 PARALLEL SESSION I
Session I

Global workforce platforms: PEOs, EORs, AORs and other TLAs. The challenges and risks of innovative employment models operating on the European labour marketIs business ahead of law?

As businesses seek to hire for talent rather than location, international expansion and employees’ desire for greater flexibility have firstly established EORs and other similar solutions as part of the global employment landscape. At first glance, such platforms offer an easy way to leverage a global workforce while minimizing the traditional risks, delays and costs of international expansion. While the benefits are clear, these business models often do not fit well with existing European legal frameworks, and employment lawyers are often asked to advise on their suitability and risks. This panel will combine practical experience of advising on these issues with perspectives from some of the leading providers of these solutions, including:

  • Alternative business models for EU and non-EU based companies in the European market;
  • What should companies consider before engaging EOR or similar services?
  • Will global business models drive change to EU or national regulations? 
  • What are the most challenging issues for employment lawyers advising their clients?

Session leader:

Raoul Parekh, UK, Partner at GQ Littler, London.

Session II

Non-compete bans: Is it really the end of the road for post-employment restrictive covenants and time has come for alternative arrangements ? 

There is a growing debate on whether non-compete clauses can still be considered an effective and viable instrument to retain talents while protecting the employer’s business interests. Bans and restrictions on their use are being enacted in several jurisdictions: in January 2023 the US Federal Trade Commission proposed a new rule that would ban employers from imposing non-competes, while in May the UK government confirmed its intention to legislate to limit the length of post-termination non-compete clauses to a maximum of three months. In other jurisdictions the mandatory compensation to be paid in return for non-compete obligations is often considered excessive and no longer justifiable. Hi-tech companies usually do not see non-competes as a key tool, since job moves are physiological, but employers in other industries still rely on the beneficial advantages of such covenants. The time has come, perhaps, for international employers and lawyers to assess the efficacy of alternative contractual arrangements, since the safeguard of confidential information and know-how remains of paramount importance. 

Session leader:

Andrew Spital, US, Partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, New York.

Session III

Bridging the gender and ethnicity pay gap: Breaking barriers, fostering transparency and embracing workplace equit

The EU Pay Transparency Directive entered into force on June 6, 2023. EU Member States have three years to transpose this into national law. Although 2026 seems far from now, the measures that will be imposed on employers should not be taken too lightly. Employers should take a proactive approach and make major changes to existing HR policies and procedures. These topics will be addressed during the panel discussion, where speakers will also share their practical insights, experiences, and updates that apply to their respective jurisdictions, combined with comparative views from the UK.

Session leader:

Stefanie Tack, Belgium, Partner at Strelia, Brussels.

15:15 – 15:45 COFFEE BREAK
Session I

Transforming Legal Practice: The AI Revolution in Law Firms

As technology continues to evolve, the legal industry is experiencing a seismic shift, and AI is at the forefront of this transformation. Our seminar will bring together experts in the fields of law and artificial intelligence to explore the following topics:

  • How AI is revolutionizing legal research and case analysis.
  • Automation of routine legal tasks: What this means for billable hours.
  • AI-driven contract analysis and its potential to reduce errors and streamline legal processes.
  • The ethical and regulatory considerations in adopting AI technologies in the legal field.
  • The future role of legal professionals in an AI-augmented environment.

Session leader:

Elizabeth Ryan, Ireland, Partner at Mason Hayes & Curran, Dublin.

Session II

Affirmative Action – How Appropriate is it to Rely on it to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in Work?

Examining EU-wide case law and legislation about affirmative action measures at work, and contrasting this with the American legal framework and practical experience with affirmative actions in work.   The Panel will discuss whether guidelines and policies are better than mandatory legal measures, what is happening ‘on the ground’, and what is the best way forward.

Session leader:

Clíona J. M. Kimber, Ireland, Barrister, Senior Counsel, Dublin.

Session III

Workplace Investigations – An Interactive Masterclass

An expert panel of international employment and regulatory specialists will explore the effective management of a workplace investigation through an interactive case study.  The experts will draw on experience to go through best practice steps, from the initiation of the investigation to its outcome, with a focus on particularly tricky issues such as independence, selection of investigation teams, interviews, parallel investigations, suspension, and investigations spanning multiple jurisdictions. The session will be jurisdictionally agnostic and relevant for regulated and non-regulated environments to ensure relevance and value for all attendees, with a focus on best practice and navigating potential pitfalls.

Session leader:

Anne Pritam, UK, Partner at Stephenson Harwood LLP, London.

19:30 – 01:00 GALA DINNER HARPA – SILFURBERG HALL (2nd floor)

Saturday, 8 June 2024

07:30 – 08:30 Morning jogging
9.00 – 13.00



09:00 – 10:15


Recent decisions of the Court of Justice

Professor Catherine Barnard, UK, Professor of European Union law and Employment Law at the University of Cambridge

10:15 – 10:45 COFFEE BREAK
10:45 – 12:15


Responding to workplace climate challenges in the ‘global boiling’ era

Climate change is here. The UN warns an era of global boiling has started.  With 2023 one of the hottest years on record, climate has become the latest workplace challenge.  Employers are having to consider creative solutions for new problems.  This session will explore the impact of climate change on the workplace.           

Session leader:

Professor Dr. Björn Gaul, Germany, Partner at CMS Hasche Sigle.

12:15 – 13:00 GENERAL ASSEMBLY
13:00 – 14:00
LUNCH – HARPA (2nd floor)