Workers in the black coal mining industry have a number of rights under the Black Coal Mining Industry Award (2010) (“the Award”) and Black Coal Mining (Long Service Leave) Administration Act 1992.

Pay

Employers and employees are free to negotiate whatever rate of pay as long as it is above the minimum amount listed in the Black Coal Mining Industry. The minimum rate of pay is determined on a basic weekly 35 hour rate.

Leave

Before being entitled to take long service leave, an employee in the black coal mining industry must have served a period of qualifying service of at least 8 years in the black coal mining industry.

In respect of annual leave, the National Employment Standards allows an employee to take four weeks of annual paid leave. On top of that, the Award allows an employee in certain circumstances to take an additional week of leave.

The timing of annual leave is usually agreed between the employer and the employee. The employer can only deny the leave on the basis that the operation of the mine will be affected. The length of the leave may not be taken in more than three periods, one of which will be of at least three week’s duration.

Redundancy and Severance Pay

If you are made redundant, then you are entitled to certain payments under Award.  The redundancy must be due to technological change, market forces or diminution of reserves.  You must however be a permanent employee.  For every year of completed service, you are entitled to 1 week’s severance pay and 2 weeks’ redundancy pay.

For example, a permanent employee of 5 years service who is made redundant is entitled to 5 weeks’ severance pay and 10 weeks’ redundancy pay.

It is not uncommon for permanent employees to have their contracts of employment ‘terminated’ by their employer when that employer is no longer contracted to a particular mine site. In that situation, the particular characteristics of that employee’s employment relationship with the employer may mean that employee is in fact entitled to a redundancy payment.

Our office regularly deals with the employment queries of black coal mining workers.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form should you have any queries.

Benjamin O’Sullivan
Solicitor
Litigation & Dispute Resolution