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Pay and Conditions

ADF Member's Guide

Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme retention benefit

After 15 years of continuous eligible service, you may get the Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme (MSBS) retention benefit.

The benefit encourages you to serve until you have completed 20 years' service.

Who can get the benefit?

To get the benefit you must be a member of the Permanent Forces and a member of MSBS. You must also be:

  • ranked Major or above (officers), or Sergeant or above (other ranks)
  • an officer who was a sailor, soldier, or airman/airwoman, immediately before being commissioned
  • a Chaplain earning at least a Major's salary, or
  • in a specified employment category (as declared by the Minister in writing).

If you joined MSBS on or after 6 October 2005, you can't get the retention benefit.

How much is the benefit?

You may get an amount equal to one year's salary. This includes Service allowance at your rank and salary.

You may be paid a pro-rata amount if you:

  • can't complete the full five year service obligation, or
  • are promoted to the rank of Major or Sergeant between 15 and 20 years' service.

The benefit will be paid in the same way as your pay.

What is the timeframe to elect for the benefit?

If you want to get the benefit, you must apply within a specific timeframe. This starts 90 days before your 15th anniversary and ends on that anniversary day. There are no exceptions to the 90 day time limit.

If you change your mind about accepting the benefit, you must do so in writing before your 15th year anniversary.

You may be promoted to the rank of Major or Sergeant when you have completed between 15 and 20 years' service. You may elect to accept the benefit no more than 90 days after you are promoted.

If you have become eligible between 15 and 20 years' service, you can't change your mind about accepting the benefit.

What else do I have to do?

You must serve the amount of time agreed.

You must be certified as medically fit by a doctor.

If you have a Return of Service obligation, you usually serve your MSBS retention benefit obligation after that.

What can I do with the benefit?

You can take the benefit as a cash payment.

You can salary sacrifice your payment. This means that you pay it into an approved superannuation fund.

The payment is taxed as if it were salary. You should seek financial advice about how the payment will affect your tax obligations.

What happens if I leave early?

You may have to repay part of the benefit if you:

  • choose to leave, or
  • are discharged for disciplinary reasons.

You won't have to repay the benefit if:

  • you are discharged on invalidity grounds
  • your Service initiates early retirement
  • you are made redundant, or
  • you die.

More information about this benefit can be found in Chapter 3 Part 5 Division 1.

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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