At last: fair long service leave for casual coal miners
Casual coal miners will finally have their hours fairly counted towards long service leave under new laws introduced to Federal Parliament this week.
Measures included in the Albanese Government’s Protecting Worker Entitlements Bill fix an unfair provision in the Coal Long Service Leave Act that limit the number of hours counted towards long service leave to 35 per week.
Because coal miners work compressed rosters – which can include long hours one week and few hours the next – casual miners were being denied their full entitlements.
Australian coal miners have a very good long service leave scheme, but it needs updating to close loopholes and reflect the nature of today’s 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 have been arguing for change for years and we made the case for addressing this inequity for casuals in our submission to the 2021 review into the Coal Long Service Leave Scheme.
After the previous government failed to act, 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.
It means they will receive long service leave entitlements – whether in time off or accrued entitlements on retirement – that reflect their actual hours worked.
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 and a Workplace Relations Minister in Tony Burke who are willing to push back and strengthen laws in the interests of workers.
Watch Minister Burke’s explanation about the changes here.
Grahame Kelly – General Secretary