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16.5 At the Place of Employment AND 'on duty'


Delegates should note that it is not sufficient that the employee simply be present at the workplace for an injury to have coverage under the relevant compensation Act. The employee's presence 'on base' or in the normal workplace must be attendance for the purposes of employment, and not merely 'visiting' for a private purpose e.g.:

  • completing a university assignment
  • visiting friends for social reasons
  • attending to private business affairs.

The purpose of the attendance must be established on the facts of each case. In establishing the facts, it may be helpful to have regard to:

  • the activities of the client at the time of the injury
  • the statements of witnesses to the injury, and
  • whether the client was off duty at the time that the injury was sustained.

Some ADF personnel assert that ordinary military service of its nature, has no distinction between on and off duty hours and that members should have compensation coverage 24 hours per day i.e. even for accidents occurring in the family home, or while travelling on leave. However, this is not correct.

ADF members do not ordinarily have 24 hour compensation cover. Although ADF members are required to work long and irregular hours and are subject to recall at short notice, there is normally a clear distinction between on-duty and off-duty periods. Compensation covers only the on-duty periods and the periods of travel between residence, workplace and return.

However, there are a narrow range of circumstances where ADF do incur a full 24 hour compensation coverage:

  • on operational service overseas
  • on a ship at sea (but not when docked)
  • during that period of recruit or initial employment training (and some promotion courses) where the member is not only required to 'live in' but furthermore is not permitted to leave the base and has restricted communication outside of the base.

Refer to 17.8 for further discussion of the coverage of members 'living-in', i.e. in barracks on bases.

In all other situations, worker's compensation coverage ceases at the cessation of duty on each day, excepting only the period of travel to the ADF member's residence (See 18 for the travel provisions).

  • This continues to apply, even when the member is 'living in' i.e. accommodated in barracks on the base but has the freedom to leave the area after work.