BHP sign.

BHP has committed to remedying pay issues for mine workers after it was discovered its workers had been underpaid due to leave on public holidays being incorrectly deducted since 2010.

A preliminary review suggests that certain rostered employees across the company’s Australian operations have had leave incorrectly deducted on public holidays since 2010.

Approximately 28,500 current and former employees have been affected, with an average of six leave days in total that have been incorrectly deducted from affected employees over the 13 year period.

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

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

Based on currently available information, it is estimated that the cost of remediating the leave issue and the contracting issue will be up to $430 million pre-tax, incorporating costs including associated superannuation and interest payments (BHP share). BHP is continuing to investigate and said that an update will be provided in its full year results in August. 

BHP Australia President, Geraldine Slattery, has apologised 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.”

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

BHP has said it 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. 

BHP has self-reported to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The Mining and Energy Union has said that the underpayment has been uncovered 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. 

Mining and Energy Union General Secretary, Grahame Kelly, said the union would ensure affected members received their full entitlements and that the “revelation goes to show that we need to keep up the pressure on big companies like BHP to do the right thing. 

“We will make sure all our affected members receive every cent they are owed due to this stuff-up.”

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