November 27, 2022
Apprentices and trainees employed by BHP Coal can access paid parental leave in an important win fought for by unions.
Our members Paige Martin and Jordan Lynch are the proud parents of baby Nova. Paige is an apprentice and Jordan is a tradesman at Peak Downs in central Queensland.
Paige initially applied for paid parental leave but was knocked back as she was told she wasn’t eligible. “It was devastating when they said I wasn’t eligible for paid parental leave, especially since this is my fourth year with the company,” she said.
BHP’s parental leave policy previously said that as fixed term employees, apprentices and trainees were not eligible for paid parental leave.
However, unions argued that apprentices and trainees were eligible for paid parental leave because they are covered by the BMA Central Enterprise Agreement, which provides for paid parental leave.
The MEU, jointly with CEPU and the AMWU, lodged a dispute with the Fair Work Commission for an apprentice at Blackwater mine who had been denied paid parental leave under this policy.
The matter was resolved by BHP agreeing to provide paid parental leave to existing trainees and apprentices and recognise prior applications for leave entitlements that were rejected back to May 2018.
“After the Union won the paid parental leave win, I was told by the Union to apply for paid parental leave again. I’m now receiving paid parental leave and I got backpaid to 15 August which was my due date. “It’s been a massive stress relief. This was a great win, whether it’s for mums who want to take the time, or for dads who want to stay home while their partner goes back to work. It’s great for all parents.”
Her partner Jordan said accessing parental leave had given the new family time to get established. “It’s helped give us the time to plan what’s next, whether that’s time to plan childcare arrangements or whatever else we need to do for Nova, and it’s just help set our family up,” he said.