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This policy document is currently under review to reflect The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2023-2026, which came into effect on 5 December 2023. Until this has been reviewed, the new Enterprise Agreement will take precedence over the provisions outlined in this document.

Procedure: Personal leave


Personal leave is provided for under the ANU Enterprise Agreement, legislation, and the ANU Staff Leave policy. This document provides staff with information relating to conditions specific to personal leave including their entitlement and the procedures for taking personal leave.


  1. Other than casual staff, personal leave is provided for the following circumstances:
  1. Sick leave for all staff members for recovery from personal illness or injury
  2. Carer’s leave for all staff members to care for an immediate family member, or a member of the staff member’s household who requires care or support because of:
  • personal illness or injury
  • personal incapacity
  • an unexpected emergency affecting the staff member
  • to provide related care for a medical condition, subject to a medical certificate.
  1. Bereavement leave for an immediate family member
  2. Cultural leave for the purpose of attending essential religious or cultural obligations associated with the staff member’s particular religious faith, culture or tradition. Cultural leave is subject to the provision of reasonable evidence regarding the nature of the activity or ceremony the staff member is obliged to attend and notice requirements.
  3. Antenatal leave for the purposes of attending appointment associated with antenatal care, surrogacy, pre-adoption or permanent placement, subject to the provision of relevant evidence.
  4. Other compassionate or appropriate grounds as determined by the Director, Human Resources.
  1. For the purpose of personal leave the term ‘immediate family member’ means:
  • The staff member’s partner including spouse, de facto, and same sex partner
  • Child, including foster child and/or the child of the staff member’s partner
  • Parent including parent of the staff member’s partner
  • Sibling including sibling of the staff member’s partner
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members

  1. For the purposes of bereavement leave for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members, “immediate family member” means: family by marriage, adoption, fostering, or traditional kinship, and refer to staff member’s spouse, former spouse, domestic partner, former domestic partner, their child or adult child (including adopted child, step child, or an ex-nuptial child), parent, brother, sister, grandparent, foster-grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild, in-law relative, guardian, ward, or person with respect to whom the staff member has an Indigenous kinship relationship of equivalent significance or a person who stands in a bona fide domestic or household relationship with a staff member including situations in which there is implied dependency or a support role for the staff member.
  2. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members, cultural leave may also include: leave to fulfil ceremonial obligations which may include cultural events, initiation, birthing and naming, funerals and smoking or cleansing, and sacred site or land ceremonies.
  3. Where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff has exhausted all personal leave provisions provided under clause 8), the University will grant the staff member with an additional four (4 days) of personal leave to facilitate their cultural responsibilities as identified in clause 4 (above).
  4. The University will provide one day paid NAIDOC leave annually. It is recognised that leave to attend NAIDOC activities is of mutual benefit to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members and the University.
  5. It is expected that cultural leave applications will be considered in a culturally sensitive manner.

Personal leave accrual

  1. A staff member is entitled to personal leave on full pay at the rate of:



Full time continuing staff member, continuing contingent funded or fixed-term staff member (over six months) in the first to third year of service

20 days per year (cumulative)

Full time continuing staff member, continuing contingent funded or fixed-term staff member after the third year of service

25 days per year (cumulative)

Fixed-term staff (six months or less)

10 days on appointment

Part-time staff member

Accrue on a pro-rata basis (cumulative)

Casual staff member

No entitlement other than provided for under the Fair Work Act 2009

  1. All personal leave is cumulative.
  2. On commencement a staff member will be credited with the first year’s entitlement. Second and subsequent year’s entitlement accrues throughout the year and is not available until the anniversary of the staff member’s appointment.

Application process

  1. All staff must contact their supervisor as soon as practicable to advise their inability to attend work, and provide the reason(s) and anticipated period of absence.
  2. Applications for personal leave for the purpose of cultural leave will normally be submitted four (4) weeks prior to leave to allow the work area to make appropriate staffing arrangements to cover the period of absence, if necessary.
  3. All staff must submit an online leave application for all periods of personal leave, either prior to taking the leave or immediately on returning to work post personal leave. In circumstances beyond the control of the staff member, the University may enter absence requests on the staff member’s behalf.
  4. A medical certificate (or other appropriate evidence) is required for absences in excess of three (3) consecutive days, and must be provided to the staff member’s immediate supervisor or another staff member nominated by the University before or after the personal leave has started.
  5. Notwithstanding clause 15, in cases of ongoing illness, a staff member may discuss and agree with a supervisor on the evidence required.
  6. In accordance with clause 15, other appropriate evidence may include a statutory declaration or an medical certificate from medical service providers including:
  • Registered medical practitioners such as general practitioners, medical specialists, dentists, orthodontists, registered nurses, midwives
  • Health care providers such as chiropractors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, podiatrists, dietitians
  • Natural therapists including naturopaths, herbalists, homeopaths, nutritionists, and massage therapists where a referral to that therapist has been arranged by a registered medical practitioner.
  • A certificate from a natural therapist or health care provider is at the discretion of the delegate.
  1. An acceptable medical certificate or statutory declaration will state either:
  • The staff member had, has, or will have, a personal illness or injury during the period;
  • The staff member is unfit for duty;
  • The staff member requires (or required) care or support during the period of absence due to a personal illness or injury, or an unexpected emergency; or
  • The staff member’s immediate family member or household member is unwell and the staff member is required to care for the family or household member.

Medical certificates for workers’ compensation

  1. For workers’ compensation, as provided by the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act), the medical certificate should be provided as follows:
  • Claimants need to provide an original certificate stating a precise medical diagnosis and indicating a work related injury or disease.
  • If a claim is made for chiropractic, physiotherapy or osteopathic treatment only and not for payment of any time off work, an original medical certificate from the treating chiropractor, physiotherapist, or osteopath is acceptable.
  • In all other cases claimants will need to provide an original medical certificate from a legally qualified medical practitioner (for example a general practitioner or medical specialist), and
  • If a claim is made for an illness or disease the medical practitioner will also need to provide information that indicates how employment with the University contributed to the medical condition.
  1. It is important to note that these conditions should also be applied to medical certificates connected with claims under the University’s minor injury guidelines.

Other conditions for personal leave

  1. Where reasonable circumstances exist, the delegate may approve a staff member taking part of their personal leave entitlement on a half pay basis.
  2. A staff member who is accepted by a relevant superannuation fund, for temporary or permanent incapacity, will have a notional sick leave balance calculated for the purposes of determining the commencement date for incapacity payment. The notional sick leave accruals for the purpose of calculating the balance provided for in this clause will be calculated on the basis of 15 days of sick leave for the first three completed years of service with the University, and 20 days of sick leave for each subsequent completed year of service.
  3. A seriously ill staff member who has used all their personal leave credits and who is suffering substantial hardship may apply to Director, Human Resources for assistance during their illness.
  4. A delegate must exercise their delegation to approve a leave application in accordance with the conditions and approval arrangements specified in this procedure.
  5. Approval of leave beyond those provided through this procedure requires the approval of the Director - Human Resources, or the Vice-Chancellor.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Personal leave
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_000552
Purpose To inform staff of their entitlement and the procedures for the taking of personal leave.
Audience Staff, Staff-Academic, Staff-Professional
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Staff - Leave & Absences
Effective Date 23 Mar 2018
Next Review Date 30 Jun 2024
Responsible Officer: Chief People Officer
Approved By: Chief Operating Officer
Contact Area Human Resources Division
Authority: The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2023-2026
Delegations 183

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.