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Relevance and Meaning of Effective Full-time Service
Effective full-time service is essentially any period of continuous full-time service by a member of the Defence Forces, less certain periods during which the member would not have been able to perform his or her normal duties.
Relevance of effective full-time service
Generally, a member of the defence force must have accrued a specific period of effective full-time service to have access to the benefits associated with defence service.
Required period of effective full-time service
The period of effective full time service required is three years. However, lesser periods may be accepted if a member's service ceases by reasons of the members death, or discharge on the grounds of invalidity, or physical or mental incapacity.
Maternity leave and effective full-time service
Current Defence policy is that any period of paid maternity leave is a period of effective service. This includes maternity leave at half pay. Any period of unpaid maternity leave is not a period of effective service.
From 2006, women serving in the ADF have been entitled to up to 14 weeks paid maternity leave, (which may be taken at full pay or converted to half pay, extending the leave to 28 weeks). Note that maternity leave at half pay is prorated, meaning that 28 weeks at half pay only counts as 14 weeks of effective service. A total of 52 weeks leave, comprising of paid and unpaid periods, may be taken.
Case study – Defence maternity leave policy in 1975-1976
Advice received from Defence indicates that from 7 January 1975, ADF Servicewomen became entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, of which 12 weeks was paid with the remainder being unpaid. Since then any paid period of maternity leave is considered effective service and any unpaid period of maternity leave does not count as a period of effective service. In addition, advice received from Defence is that this position would have been consistent between the Navy, Army and Air Force.