Australia: Clayton Utz launches unique Defence Force Leave policy to support employees
Last Updated: 18 August 2012

Canberra, 15 August 2012: Clayton Utz has publicly underlined its support for employees who are serving or reservist members of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF), and their families, with the official launch of its enhanced Defence Force Leave policy.

Launched at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra before an audience of senior ADF personnel, representatives from the Department of Defence, and Clayton Utz partners and employees, the policy reflects Clayton Utz's commitment as a Defence Reservists Supportive Employer as well as the firm's support for families of serving members of the Australian Defence Forces.

Under the policy, which took effect on 1 January 2012, Clayton Utz offers 20 days' leave to employees who serve as ADF Reservists, including 10 days' full paid leave in addition to their normal leave entitlements. The policy also makes provision for leave to be extended to meet training and deployment requirements. Spouses or partners of serving ADF personnel who are deployed overseas for four months or more are also eligible for five days' paid leave during the term of their spouse's or partner's deployment.

Clayton Utz currently employs seven ADF reservists, a number of whom have been deployed on current operations – including to the Solomons, Afghanistan and on Operation RELEX; at least a further 13 Clayton Utz employees have spouses or partners who are serving as full-time members of the Australian Army, Navy or Air Force.

Clayton Utz Chief Operating Officer Stuart Clark – who recently took part in the ADF Reservists' Exercise BOSSLIFT, spending three days with the Reservists in Honiara – said the firm was proud to support its employees' commitments with the ADF through the enhanced policy. "Those of us who had the privilege of spending time with the ADF Reservists in the Solomons came away recognising that they are an extraordinary group of Australians whose commitment and dedication is making a real difference. It left me with a much better appreciation of the skills and experience our Reservists gain from their service, something which is of extraordinary benefit to us as employers and indeed, all Australians."

Canberra People and Development Manager Vicki Thompson said the policy was significant for the families of serving and Reservist ADF members. "As the wife of a serving Australian Defence Force member I see firsthand the commitment and dedication of our forces to serving their country. I am proud that Clayton Utz as my employer has recognised that commitment with its Defence Force Leave policy. In particular, the five days' spouse leave is a welcome initiative for families of serving personnel during what can be a very challenging time," said Vicki.

Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator the Hon. David Feeney MP, said the launch of the policy was a significant milestone, in particular for its recognition of the families of Reservists and serving ADF personnel. "Clayton Utz's approach to supporting all ADF members and their spouses is unique in its leadership and generosity.The Clayton Utz policy sets a new benchmark for employers of Reservists not just in Australia, but as world's best practice. The expansion of the policy to include spouses, unique in Australia and the world, affirms Clayton Utz's ethos as a great place to work."

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