Employer Support Payment Scheme
The Employer Support Payment Scheme (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 employers of reservists in full-time roles (35+ hours/week), ESPS payments are made at a set weekly rate equivalent to the Full-Time Adult Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings (AWOTE).
- The FY 2020/21 payment rate is $1,658.70 per week.
- The FY 2021/22 payment rate is $1711.60 per week
- A pro-rata payment may be made for a part-time employee.
- Casual employment is not eligible for the ESPS but it may be treated as part-time employment if regular and reliable.
- 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 payments are intended for use by and for the claiming organisation. However there are no restrictions on how an organisation or self-employed reservist can use ESPS payments.
Reservists are responsible for ensuring their civilian employers are aware of the ESPS.
Who can make a claim?
In order to be eligible for ESPS payments, employers of reservists and self-employed reservists must be able to show that:
- they have an active Australian Business Number (ABN)
- the employed reservist has completed a qualifying period of Defence service within that financial year, and
- the period of Defence service being claimed for ESPS payment was at least five consecutive days in length.
Employers of reservists must also show that:
- the reservist has been employed for at least three months by that organisation.
Self-employed reservists must also show that:
- the business has been operating for at least 12 months, and
- the business provides the self-employed reservist’s principal source of income or principal source of employment, which means that the business provides the self-employed reservist with more income than any other source, and/or they spend more working hours in that business than any other employment.
Employers of reservists and self-employed reservists who operate a business and have been allocated an Australian Business Number (ABN), which 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
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 per cent of the voting power in the company
- receive more than 20 per cent of the dividends of the company, or
- have the right to receive more than 20 per cent of any distribution of capital of the company.
How do I make a claim?
All claims must be made within six months of the first day of Reserve service being claimed.
ESPS claims are made at https://esps.defencereservessupport.gov.au/.
To make a claim, you will need to use your myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager to access the Employer Support Payment Scheme online claim system.
myGovID is an app available to download to your smart device and is a new way to prove who you are online.
Once the app is set up, you need to link your myGovID to your business using the authorisation service called RAM.
You can register for both of these at: www.mygovid.gov.au.
MyGovID and RAM
The Employer Support Payment Scheme utilises the whole-of-government identification authentication service hosted by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Information on scheduled outages for myGovID and RAM managed by the ATO is available through the following links:
If you are experiencing issues logging into myGovID or the Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) outside of these scheduled outages, please contact the Australian Taxation Office.
If you expect that this issue may impact your ability to lodge your claim in time you should immediately contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: If this is the first time you are interacting with the Department of Defence through the Online Claims System or it has been more than 12 months since you last lodged a claim, you may need to request that your authorisation and agency access be updated in the RAM. For information on agency access please see the following video at the 4:00 minute mark - How to create new authorisations using RAM
For more information you can go to the ESPS FAQs page.
If you still require additional support you can contact us:
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 less than 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:
|Item||If the member has this kind of employment...||and also this kind of employment...||then an amount of ESPS payments may be paid to...|
|1.||full-time||any part-time or self-employment (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 payments, 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, or if the reservist was injured or stood down by their Commanding Officer or Group Head.
The Defence service must meet the 'Cost Effectiveness' requirements, which are determined by the relevant Service prior to the activity.
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.
Prior to becoming eligible for ESPS payments, the reservist must complete a total of two weeks of eligible Defence service to meet the Qualifying Period (QP) each financial year. This can be completed in one continuous period of no less than two weeks or in multiple periods of no less than five consecutive days.
The Defence service satisfying the QP must be claimed but 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 payments.
- 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:
- 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 Reservist’s 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 Notice, Joining Instructions or other document that may have been provided 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 payments. 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.
- 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', for example 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, for example 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 received 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 from 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, diary evidence or other similar evidence which substantiates hours of work. 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.
Any further evidence as requested by the ESPS decision-maker.
Self-employed reservists 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.
- 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 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 us about the Employer Support Payment Scheme on:
Last update: Tuesday, 21 September 2021