Title Federal Government employer support helps boost Reserve service.
Database Press Releases
Date 13-12-2002
Source MINISTER ASSISTING THE MINISTER FOR DEFENCE
Author VALE, Danna, (former Member)
Citation Id HN586
Cover date Friday, 13 December 2002
Format Online Text
In Government no
Item Online Text: 775251
Key item No
MP yes
Pages 2p.
Party LPA
Speech No
System Id media/pressrel/HN586


Federal Government employer support helps boost Reserve service.

Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

MIN 751/02 13 December 2002

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYER SUPPORT HELPS BOOST RESERVE SERVICE

The Australian Defence Force's operational tempo and increased Federal Government support for employers has resulted in increasing numbers of Reservists volunteering for full-time service, Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Danna Vale announced today.

"More than 1340 Reserve members are currently on voluntary full-time service, up from 1083 at this time last year," Minister Vale said.

"The Federal Government's Defence 2000 White Paper articulated a greater role for Reservists to surge and sustain ADF capability.

"In response the Federal Government has introduced a range of initiatives to assist Reservists in carrying out this vital role, including the ADF Reserves Employer Support Payment Scheme, which provides financial assistance to employers who release employees for extended periods of Reserve service."

"The Government recognises that many Reservists rely on the support of their full-time employers to do their part-time ADF job.

"The deployment of Reserve infantry companies to East Timor and Malaysia in November has seen employers release more Reserve members for Defence service.

"More than $1million was paid to employers last month alone, the highest amount paid in one month since the scheme began in 2001.

"Almost 790 employers received Employer Support Payments between July and November this year, compared with 327 employers in the same time last year. More than $12 million in Employer Support Payments has been paid to employers nationally since the scheme was introduced."

Minister Vale said the Federal Government's initiatives have also contributed to substantial increases in Reserve recruitment.

"Over the past three years Reserve Force enlistments have increased by more than 70%, with an extra 304 recruits this year alone, further boosting Defence capability," Minister Vale said.

For more information on the Defence Reserves, visit www.defence.gov.au/reserves.

Media Contacts: Minister: Rachael Thompson 02 6277 7820 or 0417 265 289

Defence Andy Anderson 02 6265 2913 or 0419 621 753

Chiefs of Staff/Editors Note: Further detail on the ADF Reserves Employer Support Payment Scheme is attached.

ADF Reserves Employer Support Payment Scheme

As part of the Government's Defence Reserves enhancement program, an employer support scheme was introduced to provide direct financial benefits to employers of Reservists.

The scheme is known as the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reserves Employer Support Payment (ESP) Scheme.

The scheme came into effect on 5 June 2001.

The ESP seeks to enhance employer support for Reserve service by:

* Providing recognition that the requirement for Reservists to undertake continuous defence service will result in absences from the civilian workplace, and create difficulties for employers who are called on to absorb the resulting costs and possible loss of productivity.

* Recognising that the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001 places legally binding obligations on employers when Reservists undertake ordinary Reserve service and when volunteering for continuous full-time service.

* Recognising that the ESP is a form of payment to employers and self-employed Reservists in response to the obligations placed on employers through legislation.

* Providing a financially based assistance measure to employers to offset the costs and possible losses associated with the absence of Reservists on defence service.

The Employer Support Payment is provided for most types of Reserve service, short of call-out for military service. It is payable to an eligible employer for periods of five continuous days or longer of defence service following a 14-day qualifying period.

The Employer Support Payment is the equivalent of the adult average weekly wage, which is currently $860.10 and is revised on 01 July each year.

Employers eligible for the payment are:

* Those with full-time or part-time employees * Employers who are sole traders, in partnerships or trusts, practices or corporations and business enterprises * Self-employed Reservists * State, Territory and local government departments and agencies; Commonwealth agencies, but not Commonwealth Government Departments

Reserve members and employers can obtain further information from the ESP hotline: 1800 803 485 or from the Department of Defence website at: www.defence.gov.au/reserves.