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Pay and Conditions

ADF Member's Guide

Recreation leave

Recreation leave gives you time off for holidays and relaxation away from work.

Who can get recreation leave?

You may get recreation leave if you are a member of the:

  • Permanent Forces, or
  • Reserves on continuous full-time service.

How much recreation leave do I get?

You can accrue up to 20 days' basic recreation leave in a year. You get recreation leave credited every pay fortnight for each day you perform effective service.

Your leave has to be approved before you can take it. Any leave you take reduces your recreation leave credit.

Your CO should consider operational requirements when granting recreation leave.

You can usually only take whole leave days. You can get leave for whole days:

  • of a single leave type, or
  • a part-day of recreation leave credit and a part-day of war service leave credit.

You may have more than 90 days recreation leave. You may lose any days in excess of 90 days if you don’t use them.

If you're a trainee and you don't have enough recreation leave to cover a course break, you may get trainee leave after your recreation leave runs out.

You don't get leave credited when you are on non-effective service. Non-effective service includes leave without pay, absence without leave, or detention.

When can’t I get recreation leave?

You can't get recreation leave if you don’t have enough leave credit for the leave period you want.

You can’t get recreation leave if you are:

  • on Reserve service
  • undertaking a medical residency
  • undertaking a post-graduate internship at a hospital, or
  • on non-effective service.

You can’t take more recreation leave than you have leave credit for.

When can I get additional recreation leave?

In some situations you may accrue additional recreation leave. This includes when you’re:

  • serving at sea
  • in the field
  • in military flying and flight duties
  • in special activities
  • in a remote location
  • in an overseas hardship location, or
  • on a non-warlike deployment.

You can’t accrue more than 10 days additional leave credit for:

  • sea service
  • field service
  • flight duties, or
  • special service.

You may be credited for additional recreation leave once you start getting the allowance that it relates to. For example, you get field allowance after you’ve been in the field for two days. Once you start getting field allowance, you will be credited additional recreational leave for field service.

You may get additional recreation leave for training. This means you can still take a break from training if you don’t have enough recreation leave.

You can’t get additional recreation leave for training if you’re on part-time leave without pay or on a flexible service determination.

How can I get extra recreation leave?

You may get up to five days of extra recreation leave per year if you:

  • perform duty outside your normal hours of duty, and
  • don't get additional pay or time off duty.

Any additional duty you perform:

  • must be more difficult than your normal duty, and
  • couldn’t have been performed in your normal duty hours.

Can I buy more recreation leave?

You can buy up to 20 days recreation leave to increase your total recreation credit leave to 40 days. The 40 days includes any:

  • basic recreation leave
  • additional recreation leave, and
  • extra recreation leave.

The recreation leave you buy can be cancelled if you’re on:

  • warlike service
  • non-warlike service, or
  • foreign service

You can choose how long you’ll take to pay for the extra leave. This can be for up to 26 pay periods. You must make a payment every fortnight.

The amount you have to pay:

  • stays the same, even if you're on part-time leave without pay, and
  • reflects how much you are paid in salary and allowances on the day you make the payment.

Your supervisor must discuss buying extra recreation leave with you so you understand how much it may cost you.

How much do I get paid on recreation leave?

You get paid at your substantive rank when on recreation leave. You may be paid at an acting rank rate in some circumstances.

You may get some allowances while you’re on recreation leave. This includes service allowance, uniform maintenance allowance, rent allowance and district allowance.

When can I get recreation leave re-credited?

You may get recreation leave re-credited if you go on recreation leave and you:

  • are unfit for duty for at least 24 hours due to illness or injury, and
  • provide a doctor's certificate for the period.

You may also get recreation leave re-credited if you:

  • are formally recalled to duty from leave for operational reasons, for not less than one day
  • wish to return to duty early and your supervisor agrees, or
  • die.

Can I get recreation leave if I’m seconded or attached for duty?

You may get recreation leave if you’re seconded or attached for duty to:

  • the armed forces of another country
  • the United Nations
  • a treaty organisation
  • another Commonwealth department, or
  • any other body established or constituted under Commonwealth, State or Territory law (for example, a civilian hospital).

You may get recreation leave based on the organisation you’re attached to. If you get fewer days than in Defence, you may get additional leave credit from Defence.

When can I get my recreation leave paid out or transferred?

You may get your recreation leave paid out or transferred when you cease continuous full-time service.

You may elect in writing to take your leave credit at least 30 days before you cease continuous full-time service. You may:

  • get payment for your recreation leave, or
  • transfer all or part of your recreation leave credits to another Commonwealth entity.

You should talk to your future employer about transferring recreation leave credits before you choose to do this.

Once you have elected what to do with your leave, you can't change this decision.

More information about recreation leave can be found in Chapter 5 Part 4.

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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Who do I contact

Defence Service Centre

1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362)

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