The Employer Support Payment Scheme (ESPS) provides financial assistance to employers of Reserve members and self-employed Reserve members, when the Reserve member is away from their civilian workplace on eligible periods of continuous defence service.

Since 1 July 2023, the ESPS operates under a new legislative instrument and significant changes have come into effect. These changes include, but are not limited to:

  • The annual two week Qualifying Period (QP) has been abolished, and
  • Reasonable limits for ESPS support payments have been set.

For applicants that employ medical, dental, nursing or allied health officers:

  • The Chief of Defence Force ESPS (Health) Approval 2023 modifies some of the standard eligibility requirements of the legislative instrument and provides for higher level ESPS support payments for defence service starting on or after 1 July 2023.
  • The former Chief of Defence Capability Employer Support Payment Approval (dated 3 April 2020) remains in effect for defence service starting before 1 July 2023.

 

For further information about what’s changed, including eligibility requirements for Defence service that commenced prior to 1 July 2023, please click here.

For applicants that employ members in full-time work (38 hours/week), ESPS support payments are paid the average weekly wage:

  • The FY 2022-23 average weekly wage is $1,748.40.
  • The FY 2023-24 average weekly wage is $1,807.70.

For eligible applicants that employ members in part-time work, including regular casual work, ESPS support payments are made at a pro-rata rate.

Casual work is not eligible for the Scheme.

For applicants that employ medical, dental, nursing or allied health officers, ESPS support payment rates are:

  • For FY 2022-23, please click here
  • For FY 2023-24, please click here

ESPS support payments are made to an applicant for the benefit of an applicant and there is no restriction on how an applicant might use the payment.

Members are responsible for ensuring their civilian employers are aware of the Scheme.

Submit Application

Brochure | The Employer Support Payment Scheme

Who can make an application?

Businesses that employ a Reserve member can make an ESPS application as either an employer applicant or member applicant.

An employer applicant is a business who employs a member in one of the following capacities:

  • as an employee under an employment arrangement for which a wage or salary is payable
  • as an apprentice or trainee under a formal training contract
  • as a result of being appointed to or employed by an authority or department of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory, including a local government body, or
  • as a commission agent with the meaning of section 7 of the Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001.

A member applicant is a business who employs a member and the member is related to the business in one of the following capacities:

  • a shareholder or director of a company who is employed to manage the company’s business
  • a beneficiary of a trust who is employed to manage the trust’s business
  • is a partner of a business partnership who is not a silent partner, or
  • is the operator of a sole trader business.

Eligibility criteria and acceptable evidence for each category can be found below

How do I make an application?

All applications must be made within 12 months of the first day of defence service being claimed.

ESPS applications are made here.

To make an application, you will need to use your Digital Identity and link it to your business using Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM). Currently, this is myGovID. This is a safe, secure and convenient way to prove who you are online when you access government services.

Once you've created your Digital Identity or if you already have a myGovID setup, you will need to link it to a business in Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) to submit ESPS applications for a business.

How you link depends on whether you're a:

  • Principle Authority – a person who is responsible for the business or entity
  • Authorised user or Administrator - someone who acts on behalf of a business or entity.

For more information on Digital Identity, visit www.digitalidentity.gov.au 

For more information on myGovID, visit www.mygovid.gov.au/help

For more information on RAM, visit https://info.authorisationmanager.gov.au/

Submit Application

What defence service is eligible for the Scheme? – All applicants

To be eligible for the ESPS, generally the defence service rendered by the member must be at least five consecutive days.

In some instances, defence service may also be eligible if the defence service is rendered on a rostered shift-cycle of at least four consecutive days.

The defence service must also be completed while the member is released and absent from their employment. It is important to note that ESPS support payments may not be available when a member is utilising certain types of leave, such as annual leave.

Special provisions apply to public holidays, part-days of service, days where a member is unable to perform agreed service or if a member is injured or stood down by their Commanding Officer or Group Head.

General eligibility criteria – Employer applicants

To be eligible for ESPS support payments, all employer applicants must meet the following requirements at the time of the defence service:

  • operate a registered business that is trading or otherwise operating
  • employ the member in full-time, part-time or regular casual employment and have done so for at least three months as:
    • an employee under an employment arrangement,
    • an apprentice or trainee under a formal training contract,
    • as a result of being appointed to or employed by an authority or Department of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory, including local government body,
    • a “commission agent” within the meaning of the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001.

Note: an employer of a member in part-time or regular casual work is not eligible for ESPS support payments if the member is also employed in full-time work by another business.

  • pay the member a wage that is as much as the national minimum wage or a wage in accordance with a salary sacrifice or other arrangement that is equal to or more favourable than the national minimum wage, and
  • grant the member an absence from employment to render defence service.

What evidence is required? – Employer applicants

Employer applicants seeking ESPS support payments must submit a completed application using the ESPS Online Claim System and with the first claim of each financial year provide:

  • evidence of the member’s actual weekly hours of work for the three-month period immediately prior the defence service being claimed,
  • evidence of the member’s salary, and
  • any additional evidence requested.

Suitable types of evidence may include the member’s employment contract, payslips, work rosters or other documentation that demonstrates eligibility.

General eligibility criteria - Member applicants

To be eligible for ESPS support payments, member applicants must meet the following requirements over a 12-month period (the assessment period), prior to the time of the defence service:

  • operate a registered business that is trading or otherwise operating
  • employ the member in full-time, part-time or regular casual employment, and
  • provide the members Principal Source of Income (PSI) or Principal Source of Employment (PSE).

Note: a member applicant is not eligible for ESPS support payments if the member is also employed in full-time work by another business

Assessment period means a 12-month period nominated by the member applicant and is the period which the applicant must satisfy the PSI or PSE provisions. Generally, the assessment period should end three-months or less before the defence service being claimed.

Principal Source of Income is the source of income the member applicant receives more income from. For a member applicant to be eligible for the Scheme under this provision, the member applicant must provide more income to the member than any other source. A decision under this provision is valid for two years from the last day of the assessment period. A member applicant may establish eligibility under PSI multiple times and for this reason, PSI is the preferred method to demonstrate eligibility.

Principal Source of Employment is the source of employment the applicant has worked the greatest amount of time for. For a member applicant to be eligible for the Scheme under this provision, the member applicant must provide more work to the member than any other source. A decision under this provision is valid for two years from the last day of the assessment period and in exceptional circumstances, may be valid for three years. A member applicant may only establish eligibility under PSE once unless the Chief of Defence Force is satisfied exceptional reasons apply.

What evidence is required? – Member applicants

Member applicants seeking ESPS support payments must submit a completed application using the ESPS Online Claim System.

When establishing (or re-establishing) eligibility to the Scheme, a member applicant must nominate a 12-month assessment period and nominate whether they are applying under the PSI or PSE provisions. Relating to the assessment, a member applicant must provide evidence that the business:

  • is registered and trading or otherwise operating
  • provided the members PSI or PSE by providing a copy of the member’s individual tax return and notice of assessment
  • evidence of the member’s actual weekly hours of work for the three-month period immediately prior the defence service being claimed, and
  • any additional evidence requested.

Once a member establishes eligibility to the Scheme under the PSI or PSE provisions, the member applicant may rely on the applicable provisions for a set period of time, usually two years.

When relying on such a period, member applicants must provide updated evidence of the member’s actual weekly hours of work for the three-month period immediately prior the each first period of defence service being claimed each financial year.

What happens when a member’s individual tax return and/or the notice of assessment is not available? – Member applicants

Where a member has not yet received a notice of assessment, a member applicant may provide a copy of the individual tax return only.

Where a member has not yet lodged an individual tax return, the member applicant may provide a financial statement for the member, certified as accurate by the member’s accountant or financial advisor.

In both instances, a member applicant must provide a copy of the member’s individual tax return and the notice of assessment as soon as practicable after it has been issued by the Commissioner of Taxation.

Employer Support Payment Scheme

Online Claims System