Proposed variation to Enterprise Agreement

Update: 7 July 2020

Following a majority vote from University staff, the University’s application to vary The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2017-2021 has been approved by the Fair Work Commission. 

The variation to the Enterprise Agreement comes into effect from 6 July 2020.  This means the scheduled 2% pay increase on 9 July 2020 will be deferred until 8 July 2021, and the scheduled 2% pay increase on 8 July 2021 will be deferred until 7 July 2022.  There are no other changes to the Agreement.

The University has given notice that it has proposed a variation to The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2017-2021. This Agreement covers all staff of the University, with the exception of those staff employed under clause 11.1, and those employed under the Live Performance Award 2010.

The proposed variation responds to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the University’s financial health, and follows positive feedback from staff.

While the University started 2020 in a strong financial position, the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has caused a big hit to our revenue. We now know that this year we'll earn around $150 million less than we expected and we'll spend about $75 million more than we planned due to the crises we have endured this year. The $225 million gap that creates is what we now need to address.

The Vice-Chancellor has advised that together we have already made some progress by deferring capital projects where we sensibly can, and we have saved significantly due to reductions in travel. With the support of our Council, we are borrowing money to help prudently spread some of our current costs into the future.

However, even after all of this, we need to find an additional $100 million in savings this year and we need to be able to operate with at least $150 million less money next year, so we need to economise further.

The variation would defer of the scheduled 2020 and 2021 Enterprise Agreement salary increases as below:

Salary increase

Proposed date of effect


8 July 2021 (previously 9 July 2020)


7 July 2022 (previously 8 July 2021)

We estimate that the deferral of these Enterprise Agreement salary increases will reduce the University spending by approximately $6.75 million in 2020 and $13 million in 2021, which is a significant saving towards supporting our community, and towards the need to economise further.

As this proposed change to the scheduled pay increase constitutes a change to the Enterprise Agreement, it requires agreement from a majority of staff.

To allow staff time to consider this proposed change and in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009, a seven-day access period will commence on Wednesday 10 June 2020. Staff are invited to consider the proposed variation ahead of a formal vote.

The following information and documents are available to assist staff in considering the proposed variation:

At the conclusion of the seven-day access period, eligible staff will be invited to vote on the proposed variation to the Agreement via an electronic ballot. The electronic ballot will open on 9:00am, Wednesday 17 June 2020 and close at 4:00pm, Tuesday 23 June 2020.

Enterprise Agreement information session

During the access period, three information sessions were held for staff to ask any questions regarding the proposed variation.  Links to recordings of the information sessions hosted by Dr Nadine White, Director Human Resources are available below: 

Page owner: Human Resources