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Circular 2016/3W: Support for emergency service volunteers and Australian Defence Force Reservists

1. Emergency service volunteers and Australian Defence Force Reservists play a crucial role. They protect and support communities in times of need. They make themselves available to undertake training, community education, hazard reduction and to respond to natural disasters and emergencies when and where they are needed, including in work hours.

2. The Australian Public Service (APS) provides unequivocal support to employees engaging in volunteer emergency service and Reservist duties. APS employers have an obligation and are expected to provide tangible support to volunteers and Reservists.

3. Enterprise agreements and the Fair Work Act 2009 support employees engaged in emergency services and entitle them to be absent from work. APS enterprise agreements give Reservists specific leave entitlements. The majority of agreements also affirm that leave for emergency service duties will be approved. Emergency service duty includes emergency service responses, and reasonable recovery time.

4. Employers benefit from supporting staff volunteering for these duties. These employees are typically committed, motivated and reliable individuals. They often acquire skills, exercise leadership in trying circumstances and become proficient in community engagement. This can clearly help them grow in their regular employment.

5. With the vital role volunteers and Reservists play in supporting our communities in times of need, APS employers should support these staff to the fullest extent possible.

6. For further information please email workplacerelations [at] apsc.gov.au

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018