Hail Creek fined
Wednesday 06 July 2016
Rio Tinto's Hail Creek Coal mine in central Queensland has been fined $24,000 for denying six employees access to paid personal leave.
Between December 2013 and March 2014, the six permanent employees all received a letter claiming they had taken more sick days than they were allowed.
The letter also stated the workers would not be paid for any personal leave until they had accrued more sick days.
As a result, the employees continued to work while injured or ill, or took annual leave to maintain their income.
On Wednesday, the Federal Court of Australia found Hail Creek Coal had contravened the Enterprise Agreement and the Fair Work Act by refusing to give workers access to paid personal leave.
Justice John Logan said the company's violation had not been victimless because the workers and their dependents had been affected.
'To reduce an annual leave entitlement is to reduce a worker's enjoyment of the amenities of life away from the workplace and the greater opportunity for the related society of friends and family,' Justice Logan said.Hail Creek Coal was fined $24,000 to be paid within a month to the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, who brought the action on behalf of the workers.
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