Employer Support Payment Scheme
From 1 Jan 2019, applications for payment under the ESPS must be lodged online using the Online Claim System. All paper claims received after 31 Dec 2018 will not be processed.
To lodge an ESPS claim online, a claimant’s business is required to have a valid AUSkey or myGov account (linked to a valid ABN).
- Individuals, sole traders and small businesses (less than 10 employees) need to register via myGov (linked to a valid ABN) at https://my.gov.au/ or contact 132307.
- All other users need to register with AUSkey at https://abr.gov.au/AUSkey/ or contact 1300 287 539.
For queries relating to AUSkey or myGov contact 1300 AUSkey (1300 287 539) or 132307 respectively.
What is the Employer Support Payment Scheme (ESPS)
The ESPS provides financial assistance to employers of Reservists and self-employed Reservists, when the Reservist is absent from their civilian workplace on eligible periods of Defence service.
For Reservists in full-time employment, ESPS payments are made at a set weekly rate equivalent to average weekly full-time adult ordinary time earnings (AWOTE). The FY 2018/19 payment rate is $1,567.90 per week and the FY 2019/20 is $1,604.90 per week. A pro-rata payment may be made for a part-time employee.
For Employers of medical, dental, nursing or allied health Officers or self-employed Reservists in this category, higher level or capability ESPS payments may be payable in accordance with the CDF (Health) Approval.
ESPS Eligibility Criteria
Who can make a claim?
Employers of Reservists and self-employed Reservists who operate a business and have been allocated an Australian Business Number (ABN) that was active at the time the service being claimed was undertaken may be eligible for the ESPS.
- Commonwealth Government bodies, including departments, agencies, business enterprises and corporations (but excluding the Department of Defence);
- State and Territory departments and agencies;
- Partnerships and professional practices;
- Corporations and associations, trusts and trustees of trusts;
- Public and proprietary companies; or
- Employment includes appointment to a paid office; it also includes apprenticeships and traineeships.
Self-employed Reservists include members who are:
- a director of a company;
- an employee of a company in which the member has a controlling interest;
- a sole trader;
- an employee of a family member who is a sole trader;
- a partner in a partnership;
- a trustee of a trust; or
- a person who has the power under a trust deed to remove the trustee or trustees of a trust and appoint other trustees a director of, or has a controlling interest in, a company that is a trustee of a trust.
A member has a controlling interest in a company if the member and the member's associates (including relatives of the member) between them are able to:
- control the exercise of more than 20% of the voting power in the company;
- receive more than 20% of the dividends of the company; or
- have the right to receive more than 20% of any distribution of capital of the company.
Types of employment
To be eligible for the ESPS, the Reservist must be employed on a full-time or part-time basis by the claimant.
Casual employment is not eligible for the ESPS. However, if the casual employment proves to be regular and reliable, it may be treated as part-time employment for ESPS purposes.
Full-time employment is where the Reservist is employed to perform work for at least 35 hours per week (unless a lesser number of hours are specified as full-time hours under a workplace agreement made or certified by a Commonwealth or State industrial tribunal).
Part-time employment is employment on a regular and reliable basis where the Reservist works less than the full-time ordinary hours (normally a minimum of 35 hours per week).
Casual employment is employment on an irregular or unreliable basis.
In determining the type of employment for the purpose of ESPS eligibility, the Reservist's normal working hours may be calculated using the Working Hours Test.
When a Reservist is employed in more than one employment, the following applies:
|If the member has this
kind of employment…
|and also this kind of
|then an amount of
ESPS payments may be paid to…
|1.||full-time||any part-time or
(whether full-time or part-time)
|the full-time employer only|
|2.||full-time self-employment||part-time||the member only|
|3.||part-time||part-time||each employer of the member|
|4.||part-time self-employment||part-time||the member and each employer of the member|
Eligible Defence Service Criteria - All claimants
To be eligible for ESPS consideration, the Defence service rendered by the Reservist must generally be at least five consecutive days.
Special provisions apply to Public Holidays, part-days of service, if the Reservist was injured or stood down by their Commanding Officer or Group Head.
The Defence service must meet the 'Cost Effectiveness' requirements.
The Defence service must be completed while the Reservist has been released from their employment, or if self-employed, absent from their business and not work in their normal employment (except in emergence situations or with prior written approval from the Reservist's Commanding Officer or Branch Head).
Prior to becoming eligible for ESPS payments, the Reservist must complete a two week Qualifying Period (QP) each financial year. This can be completed in one continuous period of no less than 14 days or in multiple periods of no less than five consecutive days in length.
The Defence service satisfying the QP must be claimed and is not eligible for ESPS payment.
However, Employers or self-employed Reservists eligible for the ESPS as a medical, dental, nursing or allied health Officer may receive ESPS payment for Defence service satisfying the QP if/once the QP requirement is completed.
General Eligibility Criteria - Employer claims
To be eligible for ESPS payments, all employers must meet the following general requirements:
- The employer must be a bona fide and registered employer;
- The employer must legitimately employ the Reservist on either a full-time or part-time basis;
- The employer must have employed the Reservist for a minimum of three months prior to any periods of Defence service of which the employer is seeking ESPS consideration;
- The employer is not eligible to claim ESPS payments if the employer pays the member a wage that is less than the national minimum wage under the Fair Work Act 2009 (this requirement does not apply if the employer provides an outcome equal or greater than minimum wage through salary sacrifice or other arrangement); and
- The employer must have released the Reservist from their civilian employment to undertake the claimed Defence service. If the Reservist rendered the claimed Defence service while utilising annual leave, long service or any other accrued leave entitlement, the employer is ineligible for ESPS payment.
Employers of medical, dental, nursing or allied health Officers may be eligible for higher level or capability payments.
Evidentiary requirements - Employer claims
With the first claim of each financial year, an employer seeking ESPS payment must provide the following:
- A completed claim using the online claim system;
- Evidence that the Reservist is employed by the claimant and has been in excess of three months; and
- Evidence of the Reservist's normal weekly hours of work.
Suitable types of evidence may include the Reservists work rosters, payslips, employment contract or other documentation that establishes ESPS eligibility.
NOTE: To expedite processing of the claim you should attach a copy of the Reservist's Tri-Service Training Notice, Joining Instructions or other document that may have been provide to you by the ADF detailing the nature of the service being claimed.
General Eligibility Criteria - Self-employed Reservist claims
To be eligible for ESPS payments, all self-employed Reservists must meet the following general requirements over a period of at least 12 months prior to a period of Defence service in which the self-employed Reservist is seeking ESPS consideration.
This 12 month period is also known as the 'assessment period'.
- The self-employed Reservist must have a bona fide and registered business;
- The self-employed Reservist's business must have been trading/operating;
- The self-employed Reservist must work in his/her business on either a full or part-time basis; and
- The self-employed Reservist's business must have provided either their Principal Source of Income (PSI) or their Principal Source of Employment (PSE).
Self-employed Reservists who are medical, dental, nursing or allied health Officers may be eligible for higher level or capability payments.
Evidentiary requirements - Self-employed Reservist claims
Where a self-employed Reservist is establishing (or re-establishing) eligibility to the ESPS, the self-employed member must provide:
- A completed claim using the online claim system;
- Evidence that the self-employed Reservist's business was trading/operating during the 'assessment period'. Ideal evidence may include the business' Tax Return, BAS, invoices to or from the business for each month of the 'assessment period or similar evidence;
- Evidence of the self-employed Reservist's normal weekly hours of work. Ideal evidence may include payslips, diary evidence, vehicle log book or other documentation which substantiates hours of work; and
- Evidence that the self-employed Reservist's business provides one of the following:
Principal Source of Income (PSI). Evidence may vary as no business is the same. Generally, ideal evidence may include the self-employed Reservist's personal or Individual Tax Return and Notice of Assessment, a certified letter from the self-employed Reservists accountant or financial advisor detailing any income derived or other similar evidence. Ultimately, the evidence must demonstrate to the ESPS decision-maker that the self-employed Reservist derived more income from their business than any other source.
Principal Source of Employment (PSE): Evidence may vary as no business is the same. Generally, ideal evidence may include the self -employed Reservist's personal or Individual Tax Return and Notice of Assessment, a certified letter from the self-employed Reservists accountant or financial advisor detailing any employment or other similar evidence. Ultimately, the evidence must demonstrate to the ESPS decision-maker that the self-employed Reservist spent more time in their business than any other employment.
Self-employed Reservist's who are medical, dental, nursing or allied health Officer's may not be required to provide the evidence stipulated above, instead they may be able to provide a signed Joint Health Pro-forma and attach this to their ESPS claim.
This streamlined approach is only available to self-employed Reservists who meet the following requirements:
- The self-employed Reservist is a medical, dental, nursing or allied health Officer;
- The self-employed Reservist operates or contracts to a bona fide medical establishment; and
- The self-employed Reservist's business provides their PSI.
If any requirement above does not apply, the self-employed Reservist must provide documentation in full to establish any ESPS eligibility.
An ESPS decision-maker may accept the self-employed Reservist's evidence a validating their eligibility to the ESPS for a total of two years, however, the self-employed Reservist must provide evidence of their normal weekly hours with the first claim of each year.
If an ESPS decision-maker accepts a self-employed Reservist's ESPS under the PSE requirements, the Reservist should be aware that once the validity of that evidence is exhausted, they must then re-establish eligibility under the PSI provisions.
You can call Employer Support Payment Scheme on:
Last update: Tuesday, 2 July 2019