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20.8.1 ADF Medical Employment Classification Scheme (MECS)


Last amended: 20 August 2012

Involuntary medical discharges are mediated by the ADF's medical classification systemThe ADF Medical Employment. Classification (MEC) has the following levels:

MEC 1: Fully Employable and Deployable

Medically fit without restriction for deployment or seagoing service at the medical occupation specified in the individual case. Personnel classified as MEC1 are eligible for the full range of posting and employment opportunities. Note: Initial entry to the ADF is at MEC1 only although a re-enlistment or cross-service transfer (i.e. Army to Airforce) may be at MEC2.

MEC 2: Employable and Deployable with Restrictions

Medically fit for deployment or seagoing service but with:

1.limitations on the range of duties able to be performed

2.geographic restrictions (for instance unable to serve in tropics etc.) and/or

3.a requirement for access to various levels of health support.

Personnel who are classified as MEC 2 will continue to serve. They are eligible for a range of posting and employment opportunities applicable to their military occupation, within their defined employment restrictions. Inter and intra-Service transferees and personnel reallocated to another occupation or those re-enlisting in the ADF may be MEC 2.

MEC 3: Rehabilitation

All MEC 3 sub-classifications are defined as not fit for operational deployment. MEC 3 is for those medical conditions or injuries that are considered temporary and for which there is a reasonable expectation that the Defence member will return to a deployable status following a period of rehabilitation and recovery. Defence members allocated MEC 3 may be fit for specified field activities and for seagoing activities in accordance with individual rehabilitation programs as defined by the designated single-Service Medical Officer (MO), or delegate, in accordance with relevant health policy.

MEC 4: Employment Transitions

MEC 4 is designated as an employment transition category that provides several options for the medium-term employment of Defence members who are no longer fully employable in their current employment group. Individual placement will be determined primarily by workforce planning and management considerations. A placement in a MEC 4 may result in:

  1. transition to a deployable MEC;
  2. transition to an alternate employment group; or
  3. a period of limited employment, based on Service requirements, prior to transition from the ADF.

MEC 5: Medically Unfit for Further Service

The MEC 5 sub-classifications are:

  1. MEC J51. Not Employable on Medical Grounds—Medically unfit and not employable other than within applicable restrictions in the period leading up to termination.
  2. MEC J52. Not Employable on Medical Grounds—Non-effective and unable to be employed in the period leading up to termination.

The term 'Medically Unfit for Further Service' (i.e. MUFS) is no longer an official category although delegates will find the ADF medical and discharge papers relating to most old medical discharge cases will use this term or variations of it. It also appears still to be in use in some quarters of the ADF, however MUFS has generally been supplanted by the use of 'MEC4' (or alternatively 'CAT 4') to denote an ADF member who has or will be medically discharged.


'Below Medical Standard' (i.e. BMS) is now an obsolete term and is found only in old cases. During the period of its currency, it meant a mild, a partial or a temporary state of incapacity for a particular military employment and was equivalent to the present MEC2 or MEC3. The term BMS has never 'officially' indicated a fitness category requiring involuntary medical discharge from the ADF.

Nevertheless, there are inconsistencies and some of the older medical documents use 'BMS' and 'MUFS' interchangeably, at the doctor's whim. Delegates must therefore determine the client's discharge status from the facts of each of these individual cases.