NRL Press Conference
NEWTON'S LAW: RLPA boss Clint Newton has been the only participant willing to speak to media regularly throughout the process. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The Rugby League Players Association have hit back at the NRL as negotiations for the game's next collective bargaining agreement continue to stall.

While the players have had post-career medical and hardship funds at the centre of mind, today, attention has turned to the game's pregnancy and paternity policy, as well as private health care and contract length for NRLW players.

An earlier report suggested that the NRL had knocked back what had been proposed by the RLPA, which was support for pregnant players, which would continue for any player with a child under the age of three, as well as private health care funded by the salary cap.

The NRL hit back, slamming the reports as "misleading statements."

The NRL, in its press release, claimed they have been working with the RLPA and NRLW clubs since October 2022 over a new policy, which would provide parents both paid and unpaid support when children were 24 months or under, while also adding NRL financial support to pay pregnant players, and to pay replacement players.

They also confirmed the salary cap increase announced in December, which was rejected by the RLPA, was supposed to cover private health care.

But the RLPA then released a statement of their own on Tuesday afternoon, claiming the NRL rejected the initial draft policy, before the RLPA rejected a compromise by the NRL, with the situation sitting on tenterhooks, and no such policy included in the latest CBA proposal.

The statement, released by the RLPA, reads as follows:

In response to commentary and releases about the players' CBA negotiations (specifically an NRLW pregnancy and carer's policy and Private Health Insurance), this is the RLPA's position on how the last few months have unfolded:

  • The RLPA developed the first Pregnancy and Parental Leave policy for consideration in bargaining.
  • The NRL rejected that draft policy.
  • The RLPA then received an NRL pregnancy and carer's policy in October, but it was rejected by the RLPA because it was not substantial enough and its coverage was inadequate.
  • The NRL then requested further clarification and information on the RLPA's policy.
  • The RLPA provided that information but heard nothing from the NRL until receiving its CBA proposal which made it clear that the NRL would not agree to a policy as part of the CBA. The NRL would only consult with the RLPA on the development of the policy – no such policy was included in the NRL‘s most recent CBA proposal for review.
  • The RLPA has again reiterated the need for this fundamental policy to be agreed and form part of the NRLW CBA.
  • The RLPA did propose that private health insurance would be funded through the salary cap, conditional upon agreement to the players' proposed financial model, including the revenue share, NRLW salary cap and NRL minimum salary (all significantly higher than what the NRL announced publicly), and standardised match fees for all players. Those conditions have not been met.
  • We are in agreeance on multi-season contracts, however, we do not agree with the NRL's position of six (6) month contracts in 2023 and a changing of the mode under the term.

The RLPA has made it clear that a pregnancy and paternity policy is a non-negotiable for the CBA, which was supposed to be agreed upon by the two parties before the end of last October.


  1. “The RLPA has made it clear that a pregnancy and paternity policy is a non-negotiable for the CBA”

    You are kidding Newton.

    They are being paid to play Rugby League…this is not a normal job where they can still work while pregnant. That is why the ARLC won’t have long term contracts for women. The law of unintended consequences will take effect if they attempt to bring in pregnancy leave for the women.

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