Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST - what it means for employers

You may have seen on the news over the weekend that a Defence Call Out to support national disaster relief efforts was issued by the Governor General.

Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST 2019-2020 is in effect from 4 January 2020 until the order is revoked and while it only involves select Reservists at this stage, it is compulsory service.


If you are an employer with a Reservist on your team and are unsure what this means for you and your business, we've gathered some useful links to provide more information.


What does this mean for employers?

Reservists will be called out by their unit, and will receive a letter detailing the call out requirements. They will also receive a Tri-Service Notice of ADF Reserve Service which they must supply to their employer.

Employers must release Reservists without asking them to use any type of paid or unpaid leave during their period of service. Employers may be entitled to financial assistance through the Employer Support Payment Scheme to compensate for the loss of a staff member during the period of service.

If an employer has extenuating reasons why they cannot release their employee they can seek an exemption. Employers can discuss their concerns with their employee who can speak with the Chain of Command, or they can get in touch with the Unit point of contact on the form the Reservist provides them.


Helpful links

FAQ for Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST 2019-2020  - link to Defence Reserves Support, a government website with a contact number for questions 1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362)

Employer Support Payment Scheme - link to Defence Reserves Support, a government website with details of financial assistance to employers of Reservists and self-employed Reservists

Defence Reserves Support Handbook - includes information about financial support available to employers of Defence Reservists



As always, if there is anything we can do to assist, please give us a call on 4765 3456 or email [email protected]