Leave periods required
The amount of leave you may need to apply for when required to undertake Reserve service will vary.
To reduce the impact your absence will have on your employer, you need to give them as much notice as possible and when you can do so, be flexible with your Defence leave dates.
Leave for Defence service can include:
- initial recruit training - allow up to 7 weeks
- Initial employment training – allow a minimum of 2 weeks
- annual exercises / camps - allow up to 2 weeks
- specialist courses - varies by course, allow up to 12 weeks
- deployment for service - varies, allow up to 8 months
- general Reserve service
Under the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001, employers must release Reservists when they are required to undertake periods of Reserve service including any training to prepare for that service.
You may not be forced to take any form of paid or unpaid leave.
Employers are encouraged to introduce leave policies for staff who are also Reservists.
Below are some guidelines for supportive Reserve leave policies.
Australian Government leave guidelines
The Australian Government supports employees participating in Defence Force Reserve activities.
The Government therefore expects that APS agencies will lead the way in employment policies and practices which support the release of community service personnel for emergency services duties and Defence Reservists for peacetime training and deployment.
APS agencies may determine their own approach to these employment practices provided they remain consistent with the broader Government policy of support for these functions.
More broadly, the Australian Government strongly encourages APS agencies to actively promote the benefits of Reserve service to their employees. Defence Reserves Support communication employees can assist agencies with promotional material.
The Defence Reserves and Employer Support (DRES) Division has developed a public sector leave policy which it recommends to Australian Government employers. Specifically, the DRES recommends that agencies:
- provide four weeks (20 working days or 28 calendar days) leave on full pay each year for Reservists undertaking Defence service;
- provide an additional two weeks paid leave to allow for a Reservists' attendance at recruit/initial employment training;
- provide scope for additional leave for Defence service, either on a paid, unpaid or top-up pay basis;
- allow Defence leave entitlements to accumulate and be taken over a two year period;
keep Reservists informed of developments in the workplace while the Reservists are undertaking training or are on deployment.
State, Territory, and Local Government
State, Territory, and Local Government
State, Territory, and Local Government employers are encouraged to have leave policies for their employees who are also Reservists.
Each State, Territory, and Local has different leave guidelines for Reservists.
For overarching leave guidelines, look at the Australian Government leave guidelines.
Local Government employers are encouraged to have leave policies for their employees who are also Reservists.
For overarching leave guidelines, look at the Australian Government arrangements.
Private sector employers are encouraged to have leave policies for their employees who are also Reservists.
Under the guidelines, you're encouraged to create a separate leave policy for Reservists. The policy should take into account Reserve service and training commitments.
It should also acknowledge that Reserve training enhances job performance and contributes to national security.
A supportive policy should include the following:
- Grant 2 weeks (10 working days / 14 calendar days) ADF Reserve service leave each year (at a minimum) in addition to the employee's annual leave.
- The ADF Reserve service leave can be either paid leave (Full pay or Top-Up pay) or unpaid leave in line with current legislation.
- Provide access to additional leave for Defence service if required by the Australian Defence Force.
- Support Reservists during their first year of service including recruit training. This means the Reservist can develop the necessary competency skills and qualifications through training.
- Ensure absence on Defence service doesn't affect your employee's job opportunities, including the chance for promotion.
Make sure every level of management in the organisation is aware of the policy.
Last update: Wednesday, 12 May 2021