Office for the Public Sector

Approval of leave to assist the bushfire effort

Our Public Sector is working alongside South Australians affected by the bushfires to meet immediate needs and to help communities recover.

Many public sector employees have already volunteered to assist the bushfire effort.

Recently I reminded chief executives and agency heads in the public sector of the across-government leave provisions, regarding employees who volunteer to assist the bushfire effort, or who are part of the mobilisation of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reserve Brigades.


Special Leave with Pay for Volunteers

For employees covered by Commissioner’s Determination 3.1: Employment Conditions – Hours of Work, Overtime and Leave (CD3.1), Special Leave With Pay (SLWP) for a period not exceeding 15 days per service year may be approved for the purposes of community responsibilities, which includes volunteering for community organisations. Additional leave for a reasonable period to allow an employee to rest before returning to duty may be granted at your chief executive’s  discretion.

If CD3.1 is not applicable, I have encouraged chief executives and agency heads to adopt my determination as a guideline if no other relevant policies or industrial instruments apply.


Special Leave with Pay for Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reservists Called Out to Serve

The Australian Government has mobilised the ADF Reserve Brigades to assist with the bushfire emergency across Australia.

Commonwealth legislation requires employers to immediately release any employee who is an ADF reservist subject to the call out. The Chief of the Defence Force has directed that any members of the Reserves covered by the Call Out who are engaged in emergency services are not bound to render service. Further information is available here.

For administrative purposes, employees who have received a mandatory call out notice should be provided with Special Leave With Pay (SLWP). The SLWP should continue until further notice, given that at this stage, no time limit has been set on the call out order.

Please note I will update the call out provisions within CD3.1 in the near future to reflect SLWP for this purpose.

It is important that employees be released without delay, noting that arrangements should be in place to ensure critical government services are not disrupted.

During this difficult period, we need to look after our employees.

I would like to point out that public sector employees can access the employee assistance programs (EAP)  available to them. Details of your EAP should be available on your agency’s intranet site, or alternatively speak to your manager or human resources unit.  In addition, information about disasters and mental health support is available from the SA Health website.

Should you have any enquiries, please contact either your agency’s line manager or the Office of the Commissioner for the Public Sector on 8226 2700 or email

Above all please stay safe and I encourage you to take extra precautions in your safety and your family’s safety.

Erma Ranieri
Commissioner for Public Sector Employment


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