Chaplains’ Conditions of Service

Conditions of Service

Chaplains are commissioned officers and are employed by the ADF as specialists on a professional salary. Chaplains additionally receive superannuation, free medical and dental care, continuing in-service education and vocational development, and management training. They are expected to serve for an initial period of at least three years. The compulsory retiring age (CRA) for full-time chaplains is 60 years although there is a provision for extension to age 65.  The CRA of Reserve Chaplains can be extended to 75.


For Chaplains, those clergy entering full-time chaplaincy with under five years ordained ministry experience can expect a salary of over $90,000 pa (including service allowance).  The Defence Pay and Conditions Website provides a full description of pay and condition entitlements.

Long Service Leave (LSL)Chap Gunther Returns

Those clergy wanting to become ADF chaplains should clarify the status of their LSL entitlements. The following is a brief prepared after consultations in 2002 with Anglican Superannuation Australia and the Long Service Leave Board.

LSL accrual for clergy is at the behest of their diocesan bishop. In theory a diocesan bishop could maintain a chaplain on the payroll for LSL purposes as long as contributions continue to be paid. However, clergy or chaplains cannot qualify for LSL from both the Government and the Church at the same time. As the Commonwealth covers its employees for LSL, diocesan bishops would not be able to continue to make LSL contributions.

Any qualifying service accrued prior to entering ADF Chaplaincy is normally maintained with the chaplain held in a suspended category. When chaplains resume work for the Anglican Church and are sponsored by a diocesan bishop their qualifying service resumes. If, however, clergy have more than ten years qualifying service accrued on entry into ADF Chaplaincy, the Government has made it compulsory for the chaplain to be paid a pro rata benefit as an after tax lump sum once the contributions have ceased. This benefit can be used by chaplains to buy back LSL qualifying service when they return to the Church provided the bishop of the diocese to which they are returning agrees to such an arrangement. If chaplains receive a LSL payout from the Government they can also use these monies to buy back LSL from the fund again provided the bishop of the diocese agrees.

It must be understood that the LSL provisions are an arrangement between the diocesan bishop and the fund, and that there is no individual membership of the fund. Chaplains have no equity or ownership of the fund until they reach ten years qualifying service.

Speak to a Service Archdeacon

If you sense that God is calling you to this kind of ministry, please contact the Service Archdeacons.