The Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001 (Protection Act) provides protection to Reservists from discrimination, disadvantage or dismissal for providing Defence service. The Act requires Employers to provide time off from work to Reservists for service including for training.
The Defence Force, through Defence Reserves Support (DFS), provides financial support to Employers such as us, who employ Reservists. Once an Employer is approved, they receive a weekly amount when their employee is absent on Reservist duties. In the 20/21 financial year this will be at least $1,659.70 per week. The amount payable can be higher where the employees are medical, dental, nursing or allied health officers or other nominated categories.
Although there are times when having an employee absent on Reservist duties can be a challenge, it is no more challenging than when that employee is absent on annual leave. Like absences on annual leave, you just need to plan for these types of absences. In our experience there is plenty of notice and some flexibility if the timing is genuinely problematic.
We recommend that employers work constructively with their Reservists and make sure there is clear communication and both parties understand the expectations. A compliant Defence Force Reservist Leave Policy will ensure a fair and transparent process. Although we have found that the skills and personal discipline instilled in our Reservist by his Defence Force involvement has meant that we have not experienced any difficulties negotiating absences, we are aware that if there are any problems, employers can seek support and advice from the Reservist’s Commanding Officer or from the Employer Support Service Office.
If you employ Defence Force Reservists and require assistance with drafting a Defence Force Reservist Leave Policy or negotiating Reserve leave with your employee, please contact our Human Resources division on +61 7 3218 3919.
Published: 15 July 2020
Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.
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