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16.9 Attendance at Mess etc. for Compulsory Functions


ADF members are sometimes, as an aspect of their employment, required to attend official celebrations or unit-sponsored social events at times which are otherwise 'out of hours'. Examples may be formal mess 'Dining-In' nights, award ceremonies, 'hail and farewells' or unit-sponsored celebration of unit successes.

Where attendance at such events is regarded by the unit as either compulsory or at least 'expected', those present are on duty and have compensation coverage.

This does not mean that all injuries arising out of these events must be considered compensable. The usual exclusions apply (see 26), including those relating to injuries to which the effects of alcohol or drugs contributed.

Section 4(13) of the SRCA deems an employee who is under the influence of alcohol or a drug to be guilty of 'serious or wilful misconduct' and S14(3) excludes compensation for injuries arising out of serious and wilful misconduct.

Similarly, injuries arising out of (e.g.) boisterous 'mess games' should be closely scrutinised to ensure that the member did not voluntarily or unreasonably submit to an abnormal risk of injury, as excluded by S6(3)(a).

Furthermore, the period of compensation coverage is confined to the official part of the function and does not necessarily cover the whole period of a member's subsequent attendance at the mess. Coverage should continue at least until the member is free to leave, (and probably, in practice, until it is socially reasonable to do so.) Generally there is an accepted/promulgated timeframe for the duration of the official function. However, it should be obvious that (e.g.) a member who departs from the mess at 3 a.m. has outstayed the compensation coverage for the journey home. The reasonable duration of the work-related attendance is for the Delegate to determine in each individual case, after investigation of the circumstances with the unit.