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Staff affected by the bushfires

  • Your safety is paramount. Please follow the advice of emergency services and do not put yourself at risk to come to work. If you are unable to attend work, wherever possible, contact your manager to notify them you will be absent.
  • If you are unable to attend work due to bushfire risk, a need to protect your family and/or property, or to care for your children due to school or childcare closures, you may be granted Family and Community Service (FaCS) Leave to cover the period of the emergency.
  • If you don’t have enough FaCS Leave to cover the absence, the department may grant 5 days additional FaCS Leave in accordance with subclause 71.6 of the Conditions Award. Further additional FaCS Leave (above the 5 days) may be granted at the department’s discretion where the absence is absolutely necessary. Delegations are in place to allow approval within each Division.
  • Consideration can be given to extend the settlement period of flexible working hours arrangements.

Staff who volunteer to assist emergency services

  • During a major operational response, or where an emergency is declared under relevant legislation, you may be granted unlimited paid special leave if you are a volunteer member of:
    • NSW Volunteer Fire Brigade
    • Rural Fire Services
    • State Emergency Services
    • another related organisation that volunteers to assist Emergency Services.
  • If you remain on emergency duty for several days, the department may grant special leave to allow reasonable time for recovery before returning to work.
  • If you volunteer in a rescue at a time that it would be unreasonable to expect you to report for work at the normal time, the department may grant special leave for rest.

Staff who are members of the Defence Reserves

  • Up to 24 working days military leave (per financial year) may be granted if you are a member of the Naval and Military Reserves and up to 28 working days if you are a member of the Air Force Reserve and receive a Call-Out Order.
  • If you require leave in excess of the current entitlements, you may be granted Military Leave Top up Pay. The amount is the difference between your Reservist pay (paid by the Commonwealth Department of Defence) and what you would ordinarily receive if you were at work. You will need to provide a certificate of attendance or other authentication signed by the Commanding Officer (or other responsible officer) to receive Top up Pay.
  • Section 17 of the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001 makes it unlawful for an employer to hinder or prevent you from rendering, or volunteering to render, defence service. Accordingly, agencies are legally obliged to release you to undertake duties as a member of the Defence Forces.

Office closures

There may be circumstances where offices in affected areas need to temporarily close. If this is the case, your local management will contact you to make arrangements for continuity of services and ensure your safety.

If you are directed not to attend your normal work location as a result of the emergency, options your manager can discuss with you include:

  • working from another Department of Communities and Justice or NSW Government facility, where practical and safe
  • working remotely from home or another location if possible
  • where the above options are not practical or safe, you may access special leave.

More information

For more information about staff leave entitlements, please speak to your manager or HR Business Partner.

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Last updated: 15 Jan 2020
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