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Introduction of Standardised Paid Parental Leave

BHP Billiton will introduce a standardised minimum period of paid parental leave across all the regions in which we operate.  From 1 July 2009, a minimum of 18 weeks paid parental leave will be provided for our employees upon the birth or adoption of a child.  Paid parental leave benefits can also be split between parents if both work for BHP Billiton.

BHP Billiton CEO, Marius Kloppers, said the new parental leave system supported employees in a practical way, and would also benefit the company.

“Providing a minimum global standard that is also highly competitive will help us to attract and retain the very best people in the industry.  We also recognise that introducing a policy that actively encourages broad inclusion in the workplace will contribute to increasing the diversity of our workforce, which we believe will ultimately give us a strong competitive edge,” he said.

BHP Billiton Chief People Officer, Karen Wood, said key features of the new system were equality and flexibility.

“In developing the paid parental leave system, we wanted to ensure there was equity between how we treated parents who adopted children and others.

“We also want to recognise the different ways people manage their childcare.  So we have created a policy that enables either parent to qualify for paid parental leave, as long as they are the primary carer.

“The new system was developed following an extensive review of the differing systems across all our operations around the world, which found a range of policies largely dependent on local legislation.  We wanted to have a sense of fairness for all our people across the globe by providing at least a minimum standard that would assist employees and ensure family friendly workplaces,” she said.  

In any BHP Billiton operation in which longer periods of paid parental leave may exist, these will be unaffected by today’s announcement.

Employees will become eligible for parental leave benefits after three months of continuous employment with BHP Billiton.