Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Queensland Section) Limited (RFDS)

Business Nature
Not for Profit
Product/Service Overview
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Queensland Section) Limited (RFDS) is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing vital health care to anyone travelling, working or living in Queensland. The iconic RFDS’s emergency retrieval service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has expanded to provide regular transfers of patients for life-saving surgery such as organ transplants and heart surgery, delivering critical support to those who live in rural and remote areas. A broad range of essential health care services to rural and remote communities are also delivered by the RFDS. This comprehensive health care service includes general practice, Indigenous health, child and family health, social and emotional wellbeing, women’s health and health promotion. Today, the RFDS provides the finest care to more than 70,000 Queenslanders each year – that’s one patient every seven minutes. In Queensland, the RFDS operates from eight bases including Brisbane, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns, Mount Isa, Charleville and Longreach. These bases form a strategic network and help deliver the finest health care to all Queenslanders situated in coastal, regional, rural and remote areas.
Number of Employees
100 to 999
Breastfeeding Policy

The RFDS is committed to encouraging breastfeeding by new mothers who continue to work. As such, new mothers will be allowed reasonable time to both express milk and breastfeed infants. Time taken for breastfeeding breaks (other than those taken in prescribed meal and rest breaks) can be made up either before or after the employees designated starting and finishing times. Breastfeeding/expressing breaks are negotiated by an employee with their Manager.

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) exists to help our staff with any work related or personal problem that they may be having difficulty resolving. This confidential, professional assistance and guidance aims to support the resolution or better manage work or personal problems that may be affecting an employee’s wellbeing. Often the longer an issue remains unresolved, the more aspects of life are affected by it. At RFDS, we promote that early help with a minor issue may prevent its development into a major one.

Health/Well-being allowances/discounts

The RFDS contributes up to $100 per person (every three years, pro rata of the FTE) for employees who have successfully completed their probationary period, or for those employees in a contract position of greater than six months who engage in physical activity (in their personal time). This may include sporting club membership (e.g. gym), purchase of equipment (e.g. bike, hiking boots, yoga mat) or classes (e.g. Zumba, aerobics).

The RFDS also offer discounted health insurance.

Social/Sports Club

The RFDS will support corporate physical activity events up to the value of $300 per event/team, per year. Examples of events may include community fun runs, team sporting competitions, and golf days or sports carnivals. The support that the RFDS can provide may include pre/post event refreshments, event clothing, etc. The RFDS will consider financial support for event registration on a case by case basis.

Wellness Program

The RFDS Wellness Program provides employees with options, opportunities and an environment that enables them to increase control of and improve their health. The RFDS is committed to the health and wellness of their employees and the environments they work in. The RFDS is also committed to being a role model for clients, visitors and partner organisations in providing supportive environments for employees and supports employees making healthy lifestyle choices.

The scope of the Wellness Program includes:

  • Identify key contributing factors for preventing illness and maintaining good health.
  • Provide a supportive environment for making healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Provide information and recommendations for making healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Provide resources to assist in the selection of healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Benchmark standards to promote the implementation of a health and wellbeing policy/healthy lifestyle behaviours to other organisations and clients.

Time off for Physical Activity
The RFDS will support non–operational employees who wish to (and are able to given their work environment) take 15 minutes off work for up to three days per week to engage in some form of activity (as a contribution to the recommended 30 minutes a day for good health and wellbeing). Examples of how this could be taken include going for a walk at lunch time and taking an extra 15 minutes for lunch, coming to work 15 minutes later or leaving 15 minutes earlier to participate in some form of physical activity or other social/emotional wellbeing activity. These arrangements must be negotiated and mutually agreed upon by the employee and their Base Line Manager.

Whilst it is recognised that this will be harder to achieve for operational employees, Managers of operational employees are able to use their discretion in providing them time to engage in physical activity. Encouraging RFDS employees to

  • Participate in some other form of physical activity at lunchtime (such as a going for a walk).
  • Take regular breaks from computer work and stretch (recommended every 30 minutes).
  • Talk to people face to face instead of emailing or telephoning.
  • Walk, cycle or take public transport to work and meetings outside of RFDS where safe and within reasonable distance.
  • Participate in workplace physical activity health promotion programs and physical activity fundraising events.

Whilst care is taken to facilitate recreational and incidental physical activity, the responsibility for participation in regular physical activity lies with the individual. The RFDS also acknowledge that not all occupations or locations with the RFDS will have the same degree of opportunity for this.

Salary Sacrificing
An employee may salary sacrifice up to the maximum allowable for the RFDS under current Federal legislation for Public Benevolent Institutions. Salary sacrifice arrangements are made through RemServ, an outsourced service provider.

Other Balancing Extra Support provided by the RFDS include:

  • The RFDS is committed to advocating for safe bike storage areas, shower facilities and lockers wherever possible.
  • Personal/ professional development activities.
  • Free Financial advisor sessions.

Casual opportunities

Opportunities for casual Nurses and Medical Practitioners.

Part time opportunities

Available in all operational and administrative areas of the organisation.

Work from Home

The RFDS recognises that working from home is one way of providing a more flexible approach to working conditions and is committed to facilitating flexible work practices that allow employees to meet both personal and organisational obligations. RFDS (Qld Section) is committed to the development and implementation of flexible work arrangements. Arrangements such as home-based/telecommuting work are recognised by RFDS (Qld Section) as a means to contributing to a positive and productive work environment.

In accordance with the National Employment Standards, the RFDS is obliged to consider all employee requests for flexible working arrangements (this may include such arrangements as work from home).

Home-based work can be implemented as an arrangement to enable an employee to continue to work during;

  • A temporary circumstance which prevents them attending their usual work location, e.g. a natural disaster or family illness.
  • A short-term arrangement (of less than 2 weeks duration) to complete a specific project, or
  • An ongoing agreement where a part of the employee’s ordinary hours are worked away from the workplace.
  • An ongoing agreement where an employee works exclusively away from the workplace apart from his/ her operational duties
  • Pre and post roster duties (such as logging flight plans)

Increasing numbers of employees are commencing formal working from home arrangements. These arrangements can range from a few hours to several days per week. Employees at differing levels within the organisation have adopted working from home arrangements, including administration employees, operational employees and Senior Management.

Women’s Health Program
The RFDS’s Women’s Health Program is the opportunity for women to work casually for the RFDS in remote locations (enabling them to also work in their own general practice, elsewhere or care for children at home). This program is serviced by approximately 20 female doctors. We have made the effort to cater for individual personal, social and professional needs. Initiatives have assisted employees to return to the workplace (with different working arrangements) after a period of parental leave or personal leave and have also enabled other employees to remain in the workplace when their personal circumstances have changed.

Rural & Remote Doctors
To enable attraction and retention of Doctors to rural and remote areas, we offer fly in/fly out arrangements and part time employment to as many as 25% (this is done to fit with their personal circumstances whilst enabling us to still provide medical service delivery)

Fly in / Fly Out
Several of our employees have adopted a fly in/fly out arrangements to the remote locations that they are required to work in. These arrangements are a lifestyle choice and enable employees to return to their homes after completing a rostered period of work.

Job Rotations
Job rotations occur enabling employees in positions such as Base Managers, Flight Nurses and Pilots to experience another of our 8 Bases throughout Queensland. This enables both a rich personal and professional experience for them.

Paid Parental Leave

The RFDS is committed to supporting parents and over the next four years plans to increases its paid parental leave to eligible employees.
From 1st Jan 2013 12weeks parental leave – on full pay OR 24 weeks parental leave – on half pay
From 1st Jan 2014 14 weeks parental leave – on full pay OR 28 weeks parental leave – on half pay

Study leave

Study leave is leave on full pay which is granted to an employee, upon application, to attend conferences, courses, programs, seminars, workshops or other professional development programs that are appropriate to their role and in the interest of the RFDS. Contributions to the cost of external study may also be granted on approval.

Cultural/Ceremonial leave

The RFDS is committed to supporting a diverse and multi-cultural workplace, and as such employees, including employees of either Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background can apply to take cultural leave to participate in or fulfill cultural obligations. Cultural leave can be taken as part of an employee’s annual leave entitlement.

Unpaid Leave

RFDS recognises that on occasions, some employees may need to take leave that cannot be catered for by other leave provisions. Leave without pay will be considered for full-time and part-time employees whom have exhausted all other applicable leave balances. Leave without pay requests start with periods of less than one week and longer periods of absences are based on the eligibility of the employee’s years of service, operational requirements and availability of adequate relief.

Volunteer/Community leave

RFDS may grant an employee special unpaid Community Service leave for:

  • Fire fighting for the duration of an emergency to provide assistance to a recognised fire fighting authority; or
  • Rendering community assistance to recognised voluntary organisations in the event of a state disaster e.g. SES,

Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance, subject to documentary evidence of necessary attendance. Permanent employees, both full-time and part-time, are eligible to apply for Community Service leave. Employees may elect to use annual leave for this purpose, in instances where their leave balance is over four (4) weeks.

Defence Leave
An employee who is undertaking Defence Service activities that form part of their obligations as a member of the Defence Forces may be entitled to up to 14 days leave without pay per year. Permanent employees, both full-time and part-time, are eligible to apply for leave without pay for this purpose. Employees who are required to attend Defence Service training during normal periods of employment must provide adequate notice and proof of evidence.

Natural Disaster Leave
RFDS employees who are prevented from attending their normal place of employment because of a flood, cyclone, bushfire or other natural disaster will be granted up to two days on full pay, at the discretion of their General Manager. Employees are entitled to a maximum of six days Natural Disaster leave per annum, in exceptional circumstances, additional leave may be granted. Natural Disaster leave will not deducted from any leave account. If the employee is able to work from home, additional days may be granted, on full pay.


Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator

Employment Status
Part Time
Average Weekly Working Hrs


Age Group
21 - 30

The RFDS truly are a wonderful organisation and I would highly recommend to anyone considering joining the Flying Doctor to apply now.

How important is work life balance to you and why?

As a full time student, work life balance is crucial to achieving good marks at university.

What work life balance practices have you used that are offered by your organisation?

The RFDS have been incredibly supportive over the four years I have been with them. Not only have they made provisions for me to change the location of the office I work from, but they have also supported me in decreasing the days I work from permanent full time, to permanent part time, allowing me to return to full time study.

What has been the major benefit to your life due to work life balance practices that you have accessed through your work?

By providing me with a work life balance, the RFDS have helped me return to study and consequently achieve one of my life time goals. The RFDS truly are a wonderful organisation and I would highly recommend to anyone considering joining the Flying Doctor to apply now.

Personal Benefits

To return to study full time, whereas before I would have only been able to study part time before.
To change locations of the office I work from, allowing me to pursue personal goals.

Organisation Benefits

Because the RFDS is supportive of work life balance, I walk into work everyday with a smile on my face and give the organisation 110%.

How has your organisation managed to achieve the benefits of work life balance?

They are open, flexible and understanding.

What is unique about the work life balance practices that are offered by your organisation?

I believe the RFDS treat each employee's needs individually and are passionate about finding a tailored solution.

Do you feel that work life balance initiatives are available to most staff?

Most definitely.

Can you offer any advice to others who want to manage their work life balance better?

My advice would be to approach your employer with your dreams and sit down and have a real conversation about what you want to achieve. If you work for an organisation like the RFDS, you will find out how supportive they can be.


Senior Advisor

Employment Status
Full Time
Average Weekly Working Hrs


Age Group
41 - 50

Royal Flying Doctor Service (QLD) work life balancing policies has enabled me not to let work take over my life.

How important is work life balance to you and why?

Being able to achieve a work life balance is very important to me now particularly as in previous positions I held with another employer my work hours were uncontrolled and at times very stressful. Although at the time you believe you are managing it well it is not until you leave that type of situation that you realise the negative impacts it has on you - personally, professionally and general well being. When you achieve a work life balance it is amazing how much better EVERYTHING is.

What work life balance practices have you used that are offered by your organisation?

I have taken advantage of working a 9 day fortnight, working from home for part of the week. I also take advantage of the organisation's Promoting and Maintaining Health and Wellbeing Policy by taking 15 minutes off work up to 3 days a week do physical activity (go for a jog in the mornings). I can even claim some funds from the organisation to help pay for my running shoes!

What has been the major benefit to your life due to work life balance practices that you have accessed through your work?

As I can have up to an hour and half commute to work (depending on the traffic) which makes for a very long day, having the facility to work from home at least 1-2 days a week makes a huge difference to myself and my partner. Without that facility I know I would have to look for another job and I don't want to do that as I love what I do and the people I work with.

Personal Benefits

Go for a jog in the morning and miss the worst of the traffic. Being able to attend to 'personal' business - like getting the car serviced and not have to worry about how to get to work with no car for the day.

Family Benefits

I am no longer exhausted every day and therefore much more pleasant to live with! We are able to have the weekend as time off by not having to spend all weekend catching up on the household chores.

Organisation Benefits

Because of the flexibility afforded to me by the RFDS (QLD), generally I am happier and enjoy the workplace. Also I am very willing to put in the extra hours when there is a sudden body of work that needs to be done in a short time frame - I know I will be able to get those hours back and have a break after intense bursts of work.

How has your organisation managed to achieve the benefits of work life balance?

By facilitating flexible working hours and by providing the technological communication support to be able to work remotely.

What is unique about the work life balance practices that are offered by your organisation?

Having a policy that supports staff to do physical activity in work time.

Do you feel that work life balance initiatives are available to most staff?


Can you offer any advice to others who want to manage their work life balance better?

Remember that work is to enable you to live life enjoyably not take over your life.

Our Work Life Balance Philosophy

Whilst potential employees are attracted to work for the RFDS due to its iconic status, we believe that the ease of recruitment for highly skilled professionals, high employee retention & low turnover is largely attributed to improved HR practice in the areas of workforce flexibility and employee wellbeing practices.

The needs of the RFDS workforce are varied; a combination of men and women with carer responsibilities, semi-retired employees, employees from differing backgrounds and cultures and a growing number of Indigenous employees. The impact of flexible working practices/arrangements has meant that initiatives support and benefit the varied needs and circumstances of employees.

Various initiatives introduced for employees include, but are not limited to up to six weeks paid parental leave, working from home arrangements, flexible start/finish times, fly in/fly out arrangements and cultural leave for our Indigenous employees.

Our Organisation Benefits

The RFDS started to implement flexible working arrangements well before the legislative National Employment Standards were introduced – this was largely due to the need for the RFDS to have a competitive advantage over other health providers in the workplace. The impact of flexible working practices/arrangements has meant that employees have had the support and benefit based on their varied needs and circumstances. For example, a Senior Pilot for Line Operations who prefers to work from his home office when not flying and the Manager (and all Coordinators) of our Women’s Health Program who work between .2 up to .8 of a full time equivalent. All are in managerial roles but none work full time.

It would be fair to say that the majority of employees have adopted some form of the flexible working arrangements in one way, shape or form.

Key Roles

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