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3.9 Types of service

Last amended 
10 August 2017

Service type is no longer defined as either full-time or part-time, rather a person is either a member of the Permanent Forces or the Reserve Forces and may undertake that service on a part-time or full-time basis. The ADF now works under a ‘Total Workforce System’ (TWS) that encompasses a range of service categories that allow flexible working hours for all members.  The TWS introduced the Service Spectrum (shown below) and Service Categories (SERCAT).  Within the Service Spectrum, the SERCAT define an ADF member's service status and also includes three Service Option (SERVOPs).  A SERVOP does not alter a members existing SERCAT however, it may modify some characteristics of their SERCAT.  A SERVOP can only be used in conjunction with a SERCAT, while a single SERVOP may be applicable to more than one SERCAT.  


3.9.1 Permanent Forces

Permanent Forces (PF) members are those typically enlisted in the ADF on a full-time basis (distinct from those in Reserve service on a full-time basis). A PF member may also render part-time service through the provision of a flexible service arrangement. The period or pattern of service through a flexible service arrangement may vary depending on the needs of the service and the member.  The person may also be engaged in civilian employment as well as ADF service via a formal arrangement with Defence and the civilian employer.

3.9.2 Reserve Service

Reserve employment is typically part-time employment in the Army Reserve, the Naval Reserve or the Air Force Reserve. In some cases, a Reservist may be engaged in military activities on a full-time basis, e.g. during call-up under the Defence Act, as a volunteer for operational or peacekeeping service or after accepting a (temporary) contract of full-time ADF service for a limited period in a specialist position.

Cadets, although part-time, are NOT members of the Reserves.

Annual camps, multi-day training courses and other limited periods of 24-hr-per-day attendance which are not associated with either operational 'call-up' or a formal contract of full-time ADF service, are considered as ordinary part-time reserves service.

The incapacity compensation payable to a Reservist depends on the type of Reserve service (ordinary part-time or Continuous Full-Time Service) he or she was performing at the time of the injury. Continuous Full-Time Service (CFTS)

Continuous full-time service (CFTS) relates to ADF employment during call-up of the reservist under the Defence Act for operational service or, alternatively, voluntary acceptance by the reservist of a formal contract of full-time service (i.e. usually for a defined period). CFTS does not mean the period of a Reserves annual training camp or promotion courses or trade/skills courses incidental to part-time Reserves service. The former Ready Reserve

The former Ready Reserve was an element of the active Army Reserve, where members enlisted under specific conditions of service (including some unique benefits) and initially underwent 12 months continuous full-time service, followed by obligatory part-time service (i.e. at least 50 days per year) for a further 6 years. The Ready Reserve was instituted in January 1992 and ceased on 9 February 1997.

Existing members of the Ready Reserve at that date transferred to the General Army Reserve.

  • Incapacity arising from injuries inflicted during the full-time component of Ready Reserves employment is to be paid as if the client was a member of the permanent force (i.e. NWE based on military salary only).

  • Incapacity arising from injuries inflicted during the part-time component of Ready Reserves employment are to be compensated as if the client was an ordinary part-time reservist (i.e. the NWE is to contain both civilian and reserves earnings).

Given the relatively short period during which the Ready Reserve was in operation (and thus, the relatively low number of ex-members) it is expected that associated claims for subsequent (delayed) incapacity for injuries received in such service, are likely to remain rare.

3.9.3 ADF Gap Year Programme

The Gap Year programme is open to people up to 24 years of age, for an enlistment period of 12 months full-time service (January to December). Subsequent periods of service in the Permanent Forces or Reserve service may be offered depending on ADF requirements and the person's suitability for further service.

Entitlement to incapacity payments arising from a condition/s sustained during Gap Year service is calculated as if the person was a member of the permanent force (i.e. NE is based on military salary + allowances).

Career progression for those undergoing initial training may also apply.