Frequently asked questions

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.

Proposed variation to the Enterprise Agreement - Frequently asked questions.

The following advice will assist you in your decision making regarding the request for eligible staff to lodge your vote for the proposed variation to The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2017 – 2021.

What is the proposed variation to the Enterprise Agreement?

In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the University’s financial position, the University is proposing to defer the 2% pay increase schedule on July 2020 until July 2021, and defer the scheduled 2% pay increase until July 2022.

Why is the University proposing this variation? How will deferring the pay increase help the University’s financial position?

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.

We estimate that delaying the scheduled pay rise in 2020 will reduce University spending by approximately $6.75 million in 2020 and $13.5 million in 2021, which is a significant saving towards supporting our community.   

The Vice-Chancellor has provided regular updates on the University’s financial position You can read them here.

What else is the University doing for its financial position?

The University is putting together a package for strategies to support its financial position and job protection mechanisms, and will consult more broadly with staff and the NTEU on these solutions.

How does this impact me?

If the vote is supported by a majority of eligible staff, 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 will not be a reduction to your salary.  It just means that your current salary will not have an EA salary increase until 8 July 2021.

What will my salary be under the proposed new Enterprise Agreement?

There would be no change to your current salary until the EA salary increase on 8 July 2021. 

You can view your salary in the following sections of the proposed Enterprise Agreement:

  • Schedule 1: Academic staff salary schedule (page 88)
  • Schedule 2: Casual sessional academic salary rates (pages 89-95)
  • Schedule 3: Professional staff salary rates (pages 96-100)
  • Schedule 6: Allowances (pages 151-156)

Are there any other proposed changes to the Enterprise Agreement?

No. This proposed change and associated vote is only in relation to the scheduled 2% pay increases for 2020 and 2021.

How will this impact allowances and casual payments?

If the vote is supported by the majority of eligible staff, any increase to allowances and casual salaries will also be deferred by 12 months, however there is no reduction in current allowances and salaries.

Will this impact my incremental salary increase?

No. This proposed variation is only for the scheduled 2% pay increase and does not impact on a staff member’s eligibly to progress through incremental steps.

Will my superannuation be affected by these changes?

There will be no changes to your current superannuation employer superannuation contributions

What do I need to do? How do I vote?

Eligible staff members covered by The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2017 – 2021 (the Agreement) will receive an email on Wednesday 17 June 2020 (when voting opens) inviting them to cast their vote for, or against, the proposed variation to the Agreement.

The vote will require you to indicate whether you support, or do not support, the proposed variation. 

Participation in this vote isn’t mandatory, however all staff are encouraged to vote to ensure their view is captured.

Who is eligible to vote?

You will be eligible to vote if you are employed on a continuing, fixed term, or continuing (contingent funded) appointment (both full time and part time) and covered by the current Agreement (i.e. not an honorary academic or visitor, contractor, or employed on a Performance Based Employment Contract or under the Live Performance Award 2010). Casual staff members employed and paid in either of the two pay periods proceeding the opening date of the ballot will also be eligible to vote.

Eligible staff will be contacted directly by email on Wednesday 17 June 2020 and provided a link to the web voting.

This web voting service is for authorised official University Users only.  Each eligible staff member can lodge one vote. 

How many staff need to vote to meet the majority requirement?

The majority requirement is met when a the majority of staff who vote in the electronic ballot, vote in favour of the proposed changes.

How do I find out about the agreement?

Summary notes outlining the proposed variation to the Enterprise Agreement, and the proposed Agreement in full, is available on the Enterprise Agreement variation webpage

We encourage you to read the available information before you vote. 

When do I have to vote by?

The electronic voting system will be open from 9am on Wednesday 17 June 2020 (after the access period), until 4pm on Tuesday 23 June 2020, when voting closes.  

What do I do if I am going to be away from the University during the vote period?

All eligible staff will be able to vote even if you are not on at work (e.g. on leave or overseas for work purposes).

The voting period will be held from 9am on Wednesday 17 June 2020 until 4pm on Tuesday 23 June 2020.

Is my vote confidential?

Yes. Your vote will be treated as confidential, with the authentication processes being the same as those used for your pay slip access via HORUS. A vote must only be cast by an authorised individual using his or her own password. 

Each vote is encrypted and validated to ensure that only a valid formal vote from each staff member is counted.  All data will be destroyed after the ballot is complete and finalised. 

When will I hear the outcome of the vote?

The University will advise on the outcome of the vote, as soon as practicably possible following the voting period closing at 4pm, Tuesday 23 June 2020.

If the vote passes, what happens next?

If the vote passes, the new agreement is signed by the University and an employee representative, and lodged with the Fair Work Commission. Once this is lodged with the Commission, employees, unions, and bargaining representatives will receive a copy of the varied Enterprise Agreement.

Once this occurs, nothing else changes other than the July 2020 pay rise date being varied to July 2021.

If the vote doesn’t pass, what happens?

If the vote doesn’t pass, the 2% pay rise will be processed for July 2020 and the University will consider the impact of this cost on its overall financial health and alternate cost saving mechanisms.

What do I do if I have problems using the voting system?

If you are having problems with your password or your browser is not working properly, please contact the ANU Service Desk.

Why is being communicated as a pay rise deferral, when it appears to be a cancellation of the 2020 pay increase?

Under the current Enterprise Agreement, there are two pay rises remaining, currently 2% each to occur in July 2020 and July 2021.

Cancellation of the 2020 pay increase would mean that there would only be one salary increase remaining under the current Agreement.  By deferring these increases to July 2021 and July 2022, staff have confirmation that they will receive the two remaining pay rises at a rate of 2% per year.

Why can’t we take more time to vote on a more complex change to the agreement, such as sliding scale based on salary or an ‘opt-in’ approach? Why do we need to make decisions so quickly? 

We wanted to give staff the simplest change possible to vote on that provides consistency and equity across all classifications, and sufficient time to consider this proposed change prior to 9 July 2020, when the pay increase is currently scheduled.

What consultation did ANU do before putting this pay rise deferral on the table to staff?

The University has been discussing the financial position with its community for some time, through regular Vice-Chancellor forums and all staff emails. Through these communications, staff have provided feedback on a potential deferment of the scheduled pay rise.  Following feedback from staff, and discussions with unions, the University has proceeded with the proposal to defer the EA salary increases.

If the variation is approved by staff, where do the savings go? Will savings be shared across the Colleges and Service portfolios?

The savings will be contributed to the overall savings that the University needs to find, which will then be passed through to Colleges and Service portfolios as part of the savings that they need to individually find.

Are you considering voluntary separations or early retirement scheme? If so, when will you release information about this to staff?

At this stage, the University is not considering an early retirement scheme. Staff who are interested in a potential voluntary separation are encouraged to speak to their College General Manager or Service Division Director.

I saw that ANU didn’t participate in the job protections framework. What protections does ANU have for staff?

The Enterprise Agreement provides job protections for staff under clause 67.  Recognising that the higher education sector is both challenging and changing, the University commits to consult with staff on its operations and strategies. Further information about job security, redundancy and organisational change and consultation can be found in the Enterprise Agreement in the following sections:

Why doesn’t ANU use some of their large cash reserves to save jobs?

Our cash flow isn’t constant, with money coming to the University at various points of the year. This means ANU needs to retain a cash reserve to pay salaries, superannuation and other outgoings, otherwise it would become insolvent.

You can read more information about the University’s financial position here.

If the ANU financial position improves more quickly than expected, will the pay rise deferment vote proceed?

If the vote is supported by a majority staff, it is lodged with the Fair Work Commission for approval and becomes a formal, legal and binding change to the Enterprise Agreement.

I don’t understand why we have a $1,800 increase some years, and 2% in others under our current EA. Why don’t we have a set increase or a flat increase?

The mix of fixed rate and percentage salary increases in the current Agreement enables the distribution of increases across different cohorts of staff.  A key aspect of the fixed rate increase was that the University was able to provide a bigger proportionate increase to lower level staff members.

Deferring the July pay rise will disproportionately affect women and lower level staff. What is ANU doing to address this?

The University is conscious that each individual will have their own unique financial and personal situation, and we should not make assumptions that particular cohorts of staff members are not experiencing hardship more or less than others as a result of this crisis.

To assist with individual staff members experiencing hardship, we have complementary schemes such as the ANU Staff Giving Fund, which provides staff with the option to apply for up to $2,500 as a one-off grant.  For more information about how some of this scheme works, please visit the Support Services webpage.

Why are academic promotions going ahead?

The University discussed academic promotions at Senior Management Group meetings, and agreed that academic promotions should still proceed as there has not been a freeze on professional staff reclassification requests.

Can individual staff elect to defer their own incremental pay rises within their band or classification instead of deferring the scheduled pay rise?

This requires a formal change to the Enterprise Agreement and would mean there may not be equity across all staff or salaries.

I have questions about the process, who can I speak with?

You can contact for a confidential conversation about the proposal. Information sessions were held for staff to ask any questions during the access period.  Links to recordings of the information sessions are available here.  


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