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Pay and Conditions

ADF Member's Guide

Medical absence

If you are unfit for duty for health reasons, you may get medical absence. This is paid time away from duty.

Who can get medical absence?

You may get medical absence if you are a member of the:

  • Permanent Forces
  • Reserves on continuous full-time service, or
  • Reserves on Reserve service who meets specific conditions.

How do I get medical absence?

You can apply for up to 3 days of leave in a row without a medical certificate. You must apply for each day separately. You must provide a statement that you are unfit for work for health reasons.

If you're away for more than three days, you have to see a Defence health professional.

If you're on medical absence for more than 28 days, your employment category may be reviewed.

Your supervisor may:

  • approve the medical absence
  • seek advice from an authorised health professional, or
  • tell you to see a health professional.

Your supervisor may refuse medical absence in some circumstances.

Your supervisor may direct you to see a health professional if:

  • they consider you're at risk of self-harm, and
  • no crisis management plan is in place.

If you're unable to apply for medical absence, your supervisor may still approve it. They must record any decision made. They must inform you of any decision they make to approve or refuse your medical absence.

What should your decision-maker consider?

Your decision-maker should consider:

  • how many days leave you need, and
  • any recommendation from a health professional.

When can I do alternate duties?

A health professional may recommend that you are unfit for your regular duties.

Your supervisor may refuse to allow your absence if there are:

  • suitable alternate duties approved by the health professional, or
  • no alternate duties, but your supervisor completes a written risk assessment which sets out how any risks can be minimised or eliminated.

You can't work while on medical absence, unless it's part of an ADF approved convalescence or career transition activity.

What do I get when I'm on medical absence?

You may get your salary, allowances or other benefits during your medical absence, as long as you meet eligibility conditions. This includes travel costs.

If you're a member of the Reserves, you may get salary and travel costs associated with your medical absence. You won't get Reserve allowance. You may only get medical absence approved based on your pattern of service.

If you're a member on a flexible service determination (weeks per month pattern of service), you may get medical absence based on your pattern of service.

What if I get sick when I'm on other leave?

If you're on recreation or long service leave and you become unfit for duty, you may apply for a medical absence. Your other leave will be re-credited.

You may get sick or injured after hours or away from a health facility. You can call 1800 467 425 (1800 IMSICK) to get information on where to go to get medical treatment.

More information about medical absence can be found in Chapter 5 Part 3.

Important information

As the name suggests, this Member's Guide is designed as a guide to help you understand how your pay and conditions work. It is not a legal document. Therefore, if there is any conflict between the Member's Guide and Defence Determination 2016/19, Conditions of Service (and the Determinations made by the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal), as compiled in PACMAN, PACMAN is the authority.

This Member's Guide does not incorporate or make provision for members on a flexible service determination.

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  • 1800 IMSICK is a national 24 hour call service providing nurse triage and health support for entitled ADF members.

Who do I contact

Defence Service Centre

1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362)

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