BHP owes workers $280m in wages

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1st June 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – Mining major BHP could owe workers as much as $280-million in remediations after the company identified issues with certain allowances and entitlements affecting a number of its current and former employees in Australia. 

The miner on Thursday said that a preliminary review suggested that certain rostered employees across its Australian operations have had leave incorrectly deducted on public holidays since 2010. There are approximately 28 500 affected current and former employees with an average of six leave days in total that have been incorrectly deducted from affected employees over this 13-year period. 

Initial investigations also suggest that recently acquired copper miner Oz Minerals has been affected by a similar leave deduction issue before being acquired by BHP in May 2023.

Additionally, BHP has identified that approximately 400 current and former employees at Port Hedland are entitled to additional allowances owing to an error with the employment entity in their contract. 

BHP said on Thursday that the company was continuing to investigate and an update would be provided in its full-year results in August.

“We are sorry to all current and former employees impacted by these errors. This is not good enough and falls short of the standards we expect at BHP. We are working to rectify and remediate these issues, with interest, as quickly as possible,” BHP president for Australia Geraldine Slattery said.

Protiviti, a global assurance firm, has been engaged to conduct a thorough review of our payroll systems. 

The Mining and Energy Union has taken credit for uncovering the underpayments, saying the practice had been revealed as a result of a major union win in the Federal Court clarifying employee rights around public holidays under the National Employment Standards. 

The March Full Court decision in a matter brought by the Mining and Energy Union against BHP’s labour hire subsidiary Operations Services found that companies could not automatically treat public holidays as work days without first asking employees to work the days, and employees having the opportunity to refuse that request. 

"BHP has been sprung ripping workers off by hundreds of millions of dollars,” said the union’s general secretary Grahame Kelly

“Today’s revelation goes to show that we need to keep up the pressure on big companies like BHP to do the right thing. 

“BHP has assumed that because they want round-the-clock profits from their mining operations, their workers aren’t entitled to their public holiday rights. 

BHP will contact affected current and former employees regarding remediation as soon as possible and a dedicated hotline and website will be established to provide assistance from Friday. 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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