Fair long service leave for casual coalminers

Monday, 03 April, 2023

Fair long service leave for casual coalminers

New laws have been introduced to the federal parliament that will enable casual coalminers to have their hours fairly counted towards long service leave. Measures included in the federal government’s Protecting Worker Entitlements Bill fix an unfair provision in the Coal Long Service Leave Act that limits the number of hours counted towards long service leave to 35 per week.

Mining and Energy Union General Secretary Grahame Kelly said that because coalminers work compressed rosters — which can include long hours one week and fewer hours the next — casual coalminers were being denied their full entitlements. Kelly said that although Australian coalminers have a very good long service leave scheme, it needs to be updated to close loopholes and reflect the nature of industry.

“Casuals have been short-changed because there has been no provision to average out the 35 ordinary hours over the roster cycle, as is the case for permanent employees. We made the case for addressing this inequity for casuals in our submission to the 2021 review into the Coal Long Service Leave Scheme. We are very pleased that the Albanese government has seen the importance of addressing this issue, which affects many thousands of workers across our coalfields. Mining companies’ aggressive push to casualise the workforce has undermined rights and entitlements for coal mineworkers across the industry. We are very pleased to have a federal government willing to push back and strengthen laws in the interests of workers,” Kelly said.

Image credit: iStock.com/DuxX

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