Historic terms reportedly agreed in principle with NRLW players for paternal leave and financial support
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The NRL and the Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) have reportedly agreed on financial terms for the first-ever NRLW collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Fox Sports reports that the two parties have edged closer to a historic deal for women’s rugby league that will allow for leave provisions and support during pregnancy and infant care.
The NRL has also said to have agreed to provide private health insurance to women’s players that go with the players’ 12-month contracts.
Players will also be able to sign multi-year deals from 2023.
The CBA sets up a pathway for increased salaries for the NRLW players.
Already in 2023, the salary cap saw a major increase, boosting from $350,000 to $900,000 with increases set to take place over a five-year cycle.
By 2027, the salary cap will reach $1.518 million and minimum salaries will go from $30,000 to $50,600.
NRLW clubs will be allowed to have rosters of 24 players with funding for four development players.
The RLPA has been negotiating for better well-being and education support as well as injury hardship and support funds, all of which will be provided in the CBA.
It reflects the growing women’s rugby league game in Australia that will see the competition grow to a 23-week period by the 2027 season.
NRL chief Andrew Abdo released a statement in which he praised the agreement and all those involved.
He said: “The Australian Rugby League Commission was adamant that investment in the women’s game was prioritised at every level and the finalisation of terms for the elite NRLW is just one aspect of that commitment.
“The proposed investment of $118 million across the 5-year cycle at the elite level factors in future growth of the competition and is also supported by significant investment in pathways and grassroots participation as part of an overall strategy for women’s rugby league development.
“I want to acknowledge and thank the players, RLPA, Clubs and all partners for their support as we worked through this historic agreement.”
Meanwhile, RLPA chief Clint Newton noted that while the final agreement was not yet in place it was a great step forward to giving athletes ‘financial certainty’.
He said, in a statement: “Agreeing to these financial terms will now give NRLW players financial certainty and security ahead of signing contracts for the 2023 NRLW season and beyond.
“Although this is not a final agreement and several significant terms are yet to be agreed, this is a big step toward securing their first ever CBA.
“This is great progress for current and future players in agreeing to key financial terms and will lay the strong foundations which will allow our game to attract and retain the best talent in Australia and abroad.
“There is still much more work to do as we continue to negotiate a joint-CBA for NRLW and NRL players which captures all their terms and conditions.
“The RLPA Board and our team look forward to continuing our work with Andrew and clubs as we continue to negotiate a historic first-ever joint-CBA.”