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6.9 Determining Incapacity Compensation for Cadets and Declared Members

Last updated 1 July 2013

Section 5 of the MRCA defines 'Cadet' as Army Navy and Air Force Cadets.  The Cadet program is aimed at youth between the ages of 12? and 20 years.  Cadets are not members of the Defence Force however, the MRCA provides compensation coverage if a person is injured as a result of their Cadet service.

Adult volunteers are appointed as Officers and Instructors of Cadets.  They are paid a Cadet Force Allowance (Cadet pay) based on the equivalent ADF Reserve rate of pay according to their rank.  It should be noted however that Cadet pay is taxable.  Officers and Instructors of Cadets are referred to as remunerated Cadets.

The regulations create different rules for compensating Cadets/Declared members engaged in paid civilian work, a Cadet engaged in casual work or Cadets/Declared members not engaged in work.  A Cadet engaged in paid civilian work must be in continuous employment during the example period.  The example period is normally the 2-week period prior to the onset of the incapacity.  Continuous employment may be part-time employment, for example for 5 hours per week.  A Cadet who is only employed during vacation periods is engaged in casual work.

The National Minimum Wage, as a default minimum normal earnings, only applies to Cadets who have no identifiable skills, qualifications and experience, and who cannot return to work or study for the foreseeable future.

Incapacity payments are not payable to a Cadet or Declared member under the age of 16 who are not engaged in paid civilian work.

Cadets and Declared members who are unable to continue full-time studies or enter the workforce for the foreseeable future, as a result of their incapacity, have undertaken a rehabilitation assessment and any one of the following:

  • has undertaken a rehabilitation program; or
  • is undertaking a rehabilitation program; or
  • is not currently fit to undertake a rehabilitation program; or
  • is assessed as not requiring a rehabilitation program

will have their normal earnings determined having regard to their qualifications, skills and experience.

Where we are unable to determine normal earnings based on a person's skills, qualifications and experience (such as might be the case with a school aged Cadet), then it is open to the delegate to consider that the Cadet was injured during initial training in the Permanent Forces.  Accordingly normal earnings are nil until the person is 17 years of age, as a person is unable to enlist in the permanent forces until they are 17 years of age and then only with parental consent.  The person should have their normal earnings progressed through to the equivalent of a Private Pay Group 3, from the age of 17.  Progression is then based on the length of basic training for the relevant service and then 6 months for initial employment training, unless the delegate can identify a different period of initial employment training based an expected trade or corps (billet or mustering).  In such cases the remuneration amount should not be included in normal earnings.

The following tables 6.9.1, 6.9.2 and 6.9.3 summarise the criteria for Normal Earnings (NE) and Actual Earnings (AE) applicable to cadets and declared members.

These tables are followed by worked examples for each category.