Why is everyone talking about BHP shares on Tuesday?

The Big Australian is forecasting a wages blow out under proposed workplace reforms.

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Key points

  • BHP shares are slightly lower in Tuesday afternoon trading
  • The company has raised concerns the federal government's proposed "same job, same pay" legislation could cost it up to $1.3 billion per year
  • Iron ore futures are down right now on the Singapore Exchange 

BHP has been hitting headlines lately amid concerns about the federal government's planned "same job, same pay" legislation.

BHP shares are down 0.2% at the time of writing, currently fetching $44.11 apiece. For perspective, the S&P/ASX 200 Materials Index (ASX: XMJ) is 0.05% lower.

Let's take a look at why BHP shares are in focus today.

What's going on with BHP?

BHP has expressed concern about the federal government's proposed "same job, same pay" legislation.

The government is seeking feedback on the proposed reform that would see labour-hire workers paid at least as much as directly employed workers doing the same job.

BHP is claiming the legislation could cost the company $1.3 billion a year, impacting jobs.

In a submission, quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald, BHP said:

BHP estimates the financial impact of [same job, same pay] SJSP to our Australian operations will be up to $1.3 billion annually.

This cost is equivalent to the labour cost of approximately 5000 full-time employees across our operational workforce.

Commenting further, BHP said to "address a cost impact of this magnitude", it would "clearly need to review" the impact on the company's Australian operations and the "workforce that supports it".

Written submissions for the proposed legislation closed on 12 May with the federal government planning to introduce the legislation in Spring 2023.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke told Sky News on Sunday "the principle that we took to the election is the principle we intend to legislate".

In a statement quoted by the Australian Financial Review, Burke made "no apologies" for the policy. He said:

The details of this policy are not yet settled. That is the point of the consultation we're doing with BHP and others.

If you close a loophole to stop workers being ripped off, it will result in an increase in the wages budget of any company that was using the loophole. We make no apologies for that.

BHP shares are in the red at the time of writing, but other ASX mining shares are faring better in afternoon trade. Rio Tinto shares are up 0.89% while Fortescue shares are 0.34% higher.

Iron ore futures for a June 2023 China contract (62% Fe Fines) is currently down 0.68% on the Singapore Exchange.

Share price snapshot

The BHP share price has climbed 3.6% in the past 12 months.

BHP has a market capitalisation of about $224 billion based on the latest share price.

Motley Fool contributor Monica O'Shea has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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