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Division 3: Required absence

5.6.23 Required absence

  1. This Division describes the period a member must be away from duty owing to her pregnancy.

  2. The purpose of the required absence is to protect a member in the later stages of her pregnancy when she is unlikely to be able to work comfortably. It also assists her to recover from her pregnancy, and to care for her child.

  3. A member who is absent during this period will be granted maternity leave. In most cases the required absence will only be part of a member's period of maternity leave. It is not in addition to the 52 weeks' leave.

    Exception: Member already on leave without pay, see Division 4.

    See:
    Division 2, Maternity leave entitlements
    Part 10, Leave without pay

5.6.24 Period of required absence

This table sets out the period a member who is pregnant must be absent.

Required period of absence
Item If the member... then she must be absent.
1. has a birth or termination earlier than six weeks before the expected date of the birth for six weeks starting on the date of the birth or termination.
See: Division 1 section 5.6.4 for the definition of termination
2. is still pregnant six weeks before the expected date of the birth from six weeks before the expected date of the birth,
until six weeks after the actual date of the birth or termination.
3. meets all of these conditions...
  1. The member is still pregnant six weeks before the expected date of the birth.
  2. The member is given permission by the CDF to continue to perform duty (see section 5.6.26).
  3. The member is able to continue working until the date approved by the CDF.
from the end of the day immediately after the day she has permission to work to,
until six weeks after the date of the birth or termination.
4. meets all of these conditions...
  1. The member is still pregnant six weeks before the expected date of the birth.
  2. The member is given permission by the CDF to continue to perform duty (see section 5.6.26).
  3. The member is not able to continue working until the date approved by the CDF, because the birth or termination happens before that date.
for six weeks starting on the date of the birth or termination.
5. is given permission by the CDF to return to duty early (see section 5.6.27) for the period up to the end of the day she has permission to return to duty.

5.6.25 Fitness for duty and the required absence

  1. A member cannot be made to go on maternity leave earlier than six weeks before the expected date of birth.

  2. A medical officer or doctor may declare a member unfit for duty for reasons related to her pregnancy. In this case, the normal ADF fitness for duty arrangements must apply. They apply until the member is declared fit for duty or her required absence starts.

  3. The member may be considered fit for other duties.

  4. One of the purposes of maternity leave is to recognise that a member may not be fit for duty because of her pregnancy. If a member is placed on convalescence at the same time as this Part provides for maternity leave, they should happen at the same time.

5.6.26 Continuing to perform duty during the required absence

  1. A member may apply to perform duty during the period that would otherwise be her required absence.

    1. The member must provide a doctor's certificate that states that she will continue to be fit for duty until a nominated date.

    2. The certificate must be provided at either of these times.

      1. At least six weeks before the expected date of birth.

      2. If she has previously been given permission under this section – on or before the day she already has permission to work to.

  2. The CDF may permit a member to continue to perform duty during what would have been her required absence. The permission must be in writing and state the day the permission ends.

    Example: A member's required absence is due to start on 1 May. The member is in good health. She provides a medical certificate that states that in the doctor's opinion, she is fit to work until 10 June. The CDF gives her permission to work until 10 June.

    Non-example 1: In the example above, the member is working during her required absence. Towards the end of May she is finding work difficult. On 25 May she decides she no longer wants to work. The member should start maternity leave. Other forms of leave are not available to her.

    Non-example 2: In the first example, the member is working during her required absence. On 25 May her doctor advises her that due to her pregnancy she should stop working. The member should start maternity leave. Convalescence is not available to her.

  3. If the CDF considers it necessary, the CDF may require a supporting certificate by an ADF medical officer. It should state that the member will continue to be fit for duty until a nominated date.

  4. A doctor may certify a member unfit for duty for reasons related to her pregnancy. The member may later produce a medical certificate stating that she is fit for duty until a nominated date. In this case, the CDF may consider that certificate under subsection 1.

    Note: The member still has access to her compassionate and other leave entitlements as usual.

  5. If the CDF has approved a member to continue to perform duty under subsection 2, the member may be granted other leave not related to her pregnancy during that period.

Persons who can make the decisions under subsection 5.6.26.2 and subsection 5.6.26.3 on behalf of the CDF:
Supervisor not below WO2(E)/APS 4, in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.

5.6.27 Resuming duty during the required absence

  1. A member may apply to resume duty during the period that would otherwise be her required absence. The member must provide a doctor's certificate. It should state that she will be fit to resume duty on a nominated date.

  2. The CDF may permit a member to resume duty during what would have been her required absence. The permission should be in writing and state the day the member may resume duty.

  3. If the CDF considers it necessary, the CDF may require a supporting certificate by an ADF medical officer. It should state that the member will continue to be fit to resume duty on a nominated date.

  4. After the required absence has begun, the member may want to return to duty on a day different from the one already approved. In this case, she must apply to the CDF, for a new decision under subsection 2. The application must be in writing.

  5. The CDF must make a decision under subsection 2 on an application under subsection 1 within seven days of receiving it. The member must be told of the decision in writing.

    Note: The CDF may also allow a member to resume duty on a date after her required absence is completed.

    See: Division 2 section 5.6.20, Resuming duty

Persons who can make the decisions under subsection 5.6.27.2 and subsection 5.6.27.3 on behalf of the CDF:
Supervisor not below WO2(E)/APS 4, in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.

Application to Reservists: Yes, in certain circumstances.



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Further info

  • Health Directive No. 235, Management of pregnant members of the Australian Defence Force
    (This document is available on the Defence intranet or through the Defence Service Centre.)
  • Tax alert, item 59

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