NY Today News
NY Today News: Your Daily Dose of Local and Global Headlines

BHP admits it underpaid workers nearly $430m since 2010 in public holiday error

The mining giant BHP has conceded it owes up to $430m in back pay after miscalculating public holiday leave for more than a decade.

A preliminary review indicated about 28,500 current and former rostered employees across the company’s Australian operations had leave incorrectly deducted on public holidays since 2010.

The average leave lost was six days per employee or about 170,000 days across the company.

“We are sorry to all current and former employees impacted by these errors,” BHP Australia’s president, Geraldine Slattery, said.

“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.”

In a further blow, initial queries into the payroll of Oz Minerals, which was acquired by BHP in May, indicate a similar, historic public holiday pay error may have also occurred.

About 400 current and former BHP employees at Port Hedland in Western Australia were also not paid additional allowances due to an error with the employment entity in their contract.

The workplace relations minister, Tony Burke, said the revelation highlighted the need to improve protections for workers.

“Just last week, BHP were trying to assure us that their employment practices were impeccable and the government didn’t need to close any loopholes to protect wages,” Burke said.

“That’s clearly not true.

“Australia can do better to make sure workers are properly paid. That’ll be the focus of our legislation in the coming months.”

The Mining and Energy Union said BHP had been “sprung ripping workers off”.

“Today’s revelation goes to show that we need to keep up the pressure on big companies like BHP to do the right thing,” general secretary Grahame Kelly said.

skip past newsletter promotion

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

BHP said the estimated cost of remediating the leave issue and the contracting issue would be up to $US280m ($A430m) pre-tax; including necessary superannuation and interest payments (BHP share).

The global assurance firm Protiviti has been brought in to thoroughly review the payroll systems.

An update is expected when BHP announces its full-year results in August.

BHP says it self-reported to the Fair Work Ombudsman and will contact affected current and former employees as soon as possible.

A dedicated hotline and website will be running from Friday.

Shares in BHP were down about 0.7% in early trade on Wednesday.

News Source