Community Service Leave

14 January 2020

Practice owners and managers should be aware that all employees, including casuals, are entitled to community service leave to take on emergency service management activities, such as volunteering for the Country Fire Authority (CFA) or State Emergency Service (SES).

The Fair Work Ombudsman defines the voluntary emergency management activity as one that involves dealing with an emergency or natural disaster on a voluntary basis. It also requires that the employee be a member of, or has a member-like association, with a recognised emergency management body, and that the employee was either requested to engage in the voluntary activity, or it would be reasonable to expect that such a request would have been made if circumstances had permitted.

It is the employee’s responsibility to give their employer notice of the absence as soon as possible, including the anticipated time away from their job.

There is no limit to the amount of community service leave an employee can take and it is unpaid. The leave includes reasonable travel and rest time after the volunteer activity.

Community service leave forms part of the National Employment Standards (NES), applying to all employees covered by the national workplace relations system.

For more information about community service leave, see the Fair Work Ombudsman website.