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BHP refuses to see men as primary carers


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#1 Beeeeeez

Posted 13 February 2015 - 10:42 AM

Anyone seen this?

http://www.dailylife...213-13djeq.html

Astonishing!

Edited by biancabee, 13 February 2015 - 10:49 AM.


#2 niggles

Posted 13 February 2015 - 11:41 AM

Yep. It's not just BHP. It's the way the act is written. My husband's employer said the same thing recently.  Not able to take carer's leave because the birth of a child is not an emergency or illness of the mother or the children. It's forseeable. If I'd broken my leg it would be ok.

He hadn't worked there 12 months so no parental leave. He had no annual leave so had to ask for unpaid leave.

#3 niggles

Posted 13 February 2015 - 11:44 AM

His other option was to wait and see if a Dr would write a medical certificate for us but that's not guaranteed and so a stressful option.

#4 niggles

Posted 13 February 2015 - 11:56 AM

It's minimum wage. We couldn't afford that for 2 weeks. He took a few days unpaid and my MIL flew over to help with the kids.

#5 SeaPrincess

Posted 13 February 2015 - 12:04 PM

One of my colleagues looked into this when they were having a baby (not with BHP), and the short version is that you can't have 2 primary carers at the same time. If the mother is the primary carer then the father can't also be on parental leave. If she were to go back to work, I don't think it would be an issue.

DH has always been able to take carers leave if I've been sick, but took annual leave when I had the babies. Carers leave comes off the sick leave balance, so it's not ideal to use it all up on someone else anyway.

Edited by SeaPrincess, 13 February 2015 - 12:06 PM.


#6 tothebeach

Posted 13 February 2015 - 12:07 PM

View PostSeaPrincess, on 13 February 2015 - 12:04 PM, said:

One of my colleagues looked into this when they were having a baby (not with BHP), and the short version is that you can't have 2 primary carers at the same time. If the mother is the primary carer then the father can't also be on parental leave. If she were to go back to work, I don't think it would be an issue.
Exactly this.  They are not discriminating against the men.

#7 niggles

Posted 13 February 2015 - 12:12 PM

The article was a little unclear unless I missed it. You can have a mother on parental leave and a father on sick / carers leave. I think that's what is being discussed.  It's at the employers discretion whether they allow carers leave to be used following the birth of a child. In this case and in mine they said no.

#8 Mpjp is feral

Posted 13 February 2015 - 12:21 PM

View Posttothebeach, on 13 February 2015 - 12:07 PM, said:

Exactly this.  They are not discriminating against the men.

From an employment law perspective I agree.

What would have been more appropriate was if then men sought Carers Leave.

Then again - companies can ALWAYS act outside their EBA's, Awards or other agreements if it's in favour of the employee. Many employers are smart enough to be pragmatic in these circumstances. Of course there are business reasons to NOT apply compassionate common sense.

View Postniggles, on 13 February 2015 - 12:12 PM, said:

The article was a little unclear unless I missed it. You can have a mother on parental leave and a father on sick / carers leave. I think that's what is being discussed.  It's at the employers discretion whether they allow carers leave to be used following the birth of a child. In this case and in mine they said no.

If you have a medical certificate then its not at the employers discretion.

#9 Beeeeeez

Posted 13 February 2015 - 12:29 PM

The two employees wanted a carer leave until their wives recovered from CS. That was denied to them and they had to take unpaid leave. It is unclear if the carer leave or parental leave for that period was denied though.
However I think that a lot of work places these days have some sort of leave in place, which entitles the partner of a woman who just gave birth to take some sort of paid leave for certain period of time. In my husband's case he had 2 weeks standard paid leave plus extra if I happened to have a CS, which I did not.

Niggles sorry to hear that. And you are completely right, the minimum wage offered is just not adequate.

#10 niggles

Posted 13 February 2015 - 12:35 PM

View PostMpjp is feral, on 13 February 2015 - 12:21 PM, said:


If you have a medical certificate then its not at the employers discretion.

As I mentioned you'd need to be sure you're going to get a medical certificate to know your kids will be looked after.  It felt a bit too risky for us, especially when the workplace has already made it very clear they have no interest in allowing carers leave for what they see as forseeable. We preferred the certainty of pre approved unpaid leave.

#11 SeaPrincess

Posted 13 February 2015 - 12:35 PM

View PostMpjp is feral, on 13 February 2015 - 12:21 PM, said:

If you have a medical certificate then its not at the employers discretion.
This. However, it's not clear the circumstances of the caesareans in the article. I imagine it would be difficult to get a medical certificate for a father to take leave after a scheduled caesarean with no complications, but it might be quite different for an emergency caesarean, or if there are other complications, in which case, carers leave should be added onto whatever leave has been planned for the birth.

#12 humphreybear

Posted 13 February 2015 - 12:38 PM

The fair work decision was regarding parental leave (18 weeks paid for BHP I think) so it would imply that that us what they sought. I also wonder how long it was sought for.

It does get confusing as BHP seem to refer to it as primary carer's leave (as opposed to carer's leave under your sick leave policy).

#13 niggles

Posted 13 February 2015 - 12:54 PM

View PostGreenMoose, on 13 February 2015 - 12:41 PM, said:

The men were entitled to the standard parental leave though?  At minimum wage for two weeks?  I think that's fair.  There was nothing when I had my kids so at least we are moving in the right direction.  You can't have both parents as the main carer.

If the men had been working there for more than 12 months then they would be entitled to 2 weeks at full pay from their employer. That's the minimum an employer can provide after 12 months.  Before 12 months it's 2 weeks minimum wage from the government.

Edited by niggles, 13 February 2015 - 12:57 PM.


#14 BetteBoop

Posted 13 February 2015 - 12:58 PM

View PostSeaPrincess, on 13 February 2015 - 12:04 PM, said:

One of my colleagues looked into this when they were having a baby (not with BHP), and the short version is that you can't have 2 primary carers at the same time. If the mother is the primary carer then the father can't also be on parental leave. If she were to go back to work, I don't think it would be an issue.

DH has always been able to take carers leave if I've been sick, but took annual leave when I had the babies. Carers leave comes off the sick leave balance, so it's not ideal to use it all up on someone else anyway.

Same as in government. If one carer is home and the other stays home too, they are ineligible for parental leave.

They may be eligible for carer's leave because the assumption is they are caring for their partner, who is in turn caring for the baby.

#15 Moo point

Posted 13 February 2015 - 01:04 PM

View Postniggles, on 13 February 2015 - 12:35 PM, said:

As I mentioned you'd need to be sure you're going to get a medical certificate to know your kids will be looked after. It felt a bit too risky for us, especially when the workplace has already made it very clear they have no interest in allowing carers leave for what they see as forseeable. We preferred the certainty of pre approved unpaid leave.

Interesting, I have always been allowed to take carer's leave (small not for profit agency) as has DH (big 4 bank) for something even foreseeable, such as when DS had day surgery. I checked with HR, she said "of course it's carer's leave, your DS can't take himself to hospital!" And when DH took time off for me to undergo day surgery it was classed as carer's leave as I needed a chaperone to drive me home and look after me.

Surely if you've had a CS or traumatic birth and can't take care of yourself let alone an infant then carer's leave should apply?

As for the parental leave, I understand why there can't be two primary carers, but there needs to be more than the mandated two weeks' at minimum or standard pay. DH's company provides 3 weeks at full pay with an optional 5 weeks extra unpaid (at reduced pay so no time completely unpaid). negotiated with the manager. I was so grateful that even though he'd only worked for the company for 8 months they gave him 4 weeks off plus 2 weeks at part time. I didn't have a difficult birth but it certainly allowed plenty of time for my recovery and bonding with DS.

One day hopefully we'll catch up to Sweden with their generous parental leave.

#16 niggles

Posted 13 February 2015 - 01:13 PM

I thought the same thing Moo Point. Surely I can't be in hospital giving birth and caring for my kids at home at the same time. But Fair Work confirmed they are entitled not to allow carers leave for this purpose as it's not an 'illness or emergency' for the kids he'd be looking after. We could hire a nanny for them or similar. And in hospital I'm under the care of the staff there. They are entitled to allow it too but it's up to them. They chose not to.

#17 Moo point

Posted 13 February 2015 - 01:43 PM

View Postniggles, on 13 February 2015 - 01:13 PM, said:

I thought the same thing Moo Point. Surely I can't be in hospital giving birth and caring for my kids at home at the same time. But Fair Work confirmed they are entitled not to allow carers leave for this purpose as it's not an 'illness or emergency' for the kids he'd be looking after. We could hire a nanny for them or similar. And in hospital I'm under the care of the staff there. They are entitled to allow it too but it's up to them. They chose not to.

That's insane :(

Edited by Moo point, 13 February 2015 - 01:43 PM.


#18 Beeeeeez

Posted 13 February 2015 - 04:26 PM

View Postniggles, on 13 February 2015 - 01:13 PM, said:

I thought the same thing Moo Point. Surely I can't be in hospital giving birth and caring for my kids at home at the same time. But Fair Work confirmed they are entitled not to allow carers leave for this purpose as it's not an 'illness or emergency' for the kids he'd be looking after. We could hire a nanny for them or similar. And in hospital I'm under the care of the staff there. They are entitled to allow it too but it's up to them. They chose not to.

That is indeed insane, especially in this day and age where we think, well hope to think that work places have became more family friendly.

#19 tidey2

Posted 13 February 2015 - 04:37 PM

I have the opposite problem. I work in a male dominated workplace. Just found out there is a Paternity Leave Policy offering 2 weeks paid leave but there is no Paid Maternity Leave Policy. I dont even get 2 weeks paid mat leave.

#20 Beeeeeez

Posted 13 February 2015 - 06:25 PM

View Posttidey2, on 13 February 2015 - 04:37 PM, said:

I have the opposite problem. I work in a male dominated workplace. Just found out there is a Paternity Leave Policy offering 2 weeks paid leave but there is no Paid Maternity Leave Policy. I dont even get 2 weeks paid mat leave.

You kidding? Have you spoken to your HR? There must be something which HR can sort out for you?

#21 SplashingRainbows

Posted 13 February 2015 - 06:45 PM

View Posttidey2, on 13 February 2015 - 04:37 PM, said:

I have the opposite problem. I work in a male dominated workplace. Just found out there is a Paternity Leave Policy offering 2 weeks paid leave but there is no Paid Maternity Leave Policy. I dont even get 2 weeks paid mat leave.

Ridiculous. At the very least you should get 2 weeks paid leave.
And people wonder why we still need feminism.

#22 Chic'N'Stu

Posted 13 February 2015 - 06:46 PM

Imagine how distracted and sleep-deprived those men would have been caring for a partner recovering from surgery, a newborn and potentially other kids in the mix. What if they literally couldn't afford to take unpaid time off from work?

Good thing they don't work anywhere dangerous like a mine! Oh...

I know BHP must have been alarmed at profits plummeting to a mere $12 billion last financial year, but I'm pretty sure turning the screws on these two employees and their families wouldn't have made much difference to their bottom line.  Even if literally every employee took a week or two as paid leave, I'm not seeing it garnering its own line item in the annual report.

I realise most people are concentrating on the legislation - and rightly so - but the sheer idiocy of employers who nickel and dime their way out of employee goodwill and engagement over such inconsequential (for them) issues just blows my mind.

#23 SeaPrincess

Posted 13 February 2015 - 07:49 PM

View PostChic, on 13 February 2015 - 06:46 PM, said:

the sheer idiocy of employers who nickel and dime their way out of employee goodwill and engagement over such inconsequential (for them) issues just blows my mind.
But 18 weeks of paid primary carer's leave isn't nickel and diming. It's setting a precedent for the non-primary carer to take full paternity leave, potentially while the mother is not just the normal primary carer, but also on maternity leave. A precedent like that would impact on other employers as well. The only reason this is news is that it involves BHP.

I had lunch today with someone who used to work for Fair Work Australia. She said she has been asked the question, and gave the same advice as was given here. You can't have 2 primary carers. These men should have been able to take carer's leave, but not primary carer's leave.

Edited by SeaPrincess, 13 February 2015 - 07:51 PM.


#24 niggles

Posted 14 February 2015 - 06:42 AM

I just went and read the article again. It said they were requesting leave to look after the children following cesarean births. It didn't say they were requesting 18 weeks of parental leave. Where are you getting that from? It's hard to conclude anything from this article because of the ambiguity of 'primary carers leave'.

#25 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 14 February 2015 - 07:03 AM

Primary carers leave IS parental leave. The fact is they were attempting to access that type of leave.

Working for a major bank I had to sign stat decs over the fact that I was taking primary carers leave and that DH would NOT be taking any primary carers leave and outlying ANY paid leave DH would be taking.

Actually I know from a GF (who was Primary wage earner), that she was required to take the first 6wks from birth as Primary carer, then 6wks post birth her DH took over as Primary carer as she returned to work, but she was NOT allowed by the EBA to work in those first 6wks post work.






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