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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: Ill health termination


The Australian National University (ANU) is committed to ensuring that the separation of employment of a staff member due to ill-health is done in a timely and fair manner and in accordance with the ANU Enterprise Agreement 2017-2021 (ANU EA), which sets out specific rules and protections relating to the termination of employment.

This procedure aims to guide staff and managers through their obligations and the process relating to ill-health termination of employment at the ANU; and ensure ill-health termination is managed, and compliant with, the provisions of relevant legislation and the ANU EA.


  1. Notwithstanding the procedures detailed below, the Chief People Officer may authorise an alternate process for managing this employment condition, which will be consistent with the policy applying to this condition, to suit individual circumstances.
  2. Before the University commences action related to the following procedures it will first consider whether the provision of workplace adjustments to staff who have a disability or medical condition, is a required step. If appropriate, after the staff member has undertaken the medical assessment, the University will consider workplace adjustments before it takes any action which may include the termination of the contract of employment.

Ill health assessment

  1. A staff member whose capacity to perform the duties of their position is in doubt, apparently as a result of a medical condition, may be required by the University to undergo a medical examination. Considerations for commencing this process include continual absence of 4 weeks or more, continuous intermittent absences, unable to satisfy the inherent requirements of role due to illness or injury and genuine concerns regarding health or safety of employees due to illness or injury. The delegates for approval of a medical examination are the Deputy Chief People Officer, People, Safety and Wellbeing.
  2. Unless there is well founded concern regarding immediate harm as a result of the illness to the staff member or others, the University will follow the medical assessment procedures outlined at clause 55 of the ANU EA.
  3. A copy of the medical practitioner’s report will be provided to the Deputy Chief People Officer, People, Safety and Wellbeing. Where the medical report states that the staff member is unable to perform their duties, and is unlikely to be able to perform them and/or resume them within 12 months, the University may terminate the employment of the staff member, giving six months’ written notice in accordance with Clause 55.5 of the ANU EA. The staff member may seek a review of the termination decision in accordance with Clause 73 of the ANU EA.
  4. Where a staff member refuses to undergo a medical examination within three months of a written notification to do so, the University may reasonably conclude that the staff member is unable to perform their duties and is unlikely to be able to resume them within twelve (12) months, and may terminate the staff member’s employment by providing the staff member with six months’ written notice.

Superannuation applications

  1. At any time during the processes outlined above, the staff member may apply to their superannuation fund for a permanent disablement or temporary incapacity benefit due to a medical condition. Further action to terminate the staff member’s employment will be suspended until the outcome of the superannuation application is known.
  2. Pending the superannuation fund’s decision, and subject to the provision of medical certificates, the staff member may use accrued leave entitlements and, if all paid leave entitlements have been used, will remain on leave without pay.
  3. Where the superannuation fund approves a temporary incapacity benefit, the University will give effect to the superannuation fund’s instructions for payment.
  4. If, following a period of temporary incapacity benefit payments, the superannuation fund decides that the staff member is capable of resuming work, the University may dispute the decision and proceed with the medical examination provided for in this procedure.

Review process

  1. Where a staff member considers that the decision to terminate their employment is unreasonable, the staff member may seek a review of decision under Clause 73 of the ANU EA. The review committee in such a case may seek additional medical evidence if the committee deem it warranted and likely to lead to a different outcome.

Medical Assessment - procedures

  1. A staff member whose ability to perform their work is impaired due to a medical reason, may be required by the University to undergo an Independent Medical Examination (an examination).Generally, the University will:
  • give at least four weeks notice that an examination is required, unless there is well founded concern regarding immediate harm as a result of the illness to the staff member or others,
  • determine the appropriate medical practitioner with the relevant skills and knowledge of the medical condition and/or disability where known,
  • pay for the cost of the examination and
  • pay any reasonable travel expenses for attending the examination.
  1. Any report prepared arising out of the examination is the property of the University.
  2. As the University does not have access to, or hold a record of, an employee’s medical records, the University may require the staff member to provide any relevant medical reports to the examiner prior to attending their appointment.
  3. The University may provide a copy of the examiner’s report to the staff member where directed by the examiner recommendations to release the report.
  4. The University recognises that the staff member’s privacy is important. The way the University collects, uses, discloses, secures and disposes of a staff member’s personal information is governed by compliance with, and obligations as an 'agency' under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), including the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs). Further information is available at link
  5. Where the examiner’s report states that the staff member is able to perform the inherent requirements of the position, the University will look to implement the recommendations provided in the report in order to assist the staff member’s return to work, consistent with relevant University governance and legislative requirements.
  6. Where the examiner’s report states that the staff member is unable to perform the inherent requirements of the position and/or the workplace adjustments will cause unjustifiable hardship, the University will proceed with the termination of the staff member’s employment.
  7. With respect to the above, where a staff member fails to cooperate with the University, they may be considered to have engaged in serious misconduct.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Ill health termination
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_000560
Purpose To inform staff of the procedures involved in the termination of employment due to ill health
Audience Staff
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Staff
Effective Date 1 Apr 2019
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
Australian National University Act 1991
Privacy Act 1988
Australian Privacy Principles
Delegations 188, 189, 460

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.

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