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The Australian National University

Staff allowance

Staff allowance is provided by the College to fund work-related expenditure that a staff member may require while working for the College. Staff allowance is payable, in addition to salary, for specific items defined in this procedure and after prior approval by the relevant College delegate.

Applies to

Academic and professional staff of the ANU College of Law as described under ‘Eligibility’ below.


  1. The Deputy Dean (Law School academics); Administrative Team Managers or the College General Manager (professional staff); and the Director of Legal Workshop (Legal Workshop academics), as delegates, are responsible for financial approval of requests for payment from staff allowance.
  2. Academic and professional staff of the College are responsible for discussing a request for payment from staff allowance with their relevant Delegate wherever possible before expenditure is committed.  Once the request has been evaluated and approved, the staff member is to organise for the completion and submission of relevant approval forms.
  3. The College Finance Team is responsible for monitoring funds available for each staff member and alerting staff and delegates where individual accounts are low.
  4. The University’s Finance Shared Services Division is responsible for the timely processing of payments

1. Background

1.1 Eligibility

Academic staff and professional staff who are on a continuing or fixed term appointment are eligible for staff allowance. The allowance for those on a fractional appointment will be allocated on a pro-rata basis according to their time fraction. A pro-rata amount also applies in the case of staff commencing an appointment during the calendar year, resigning during the year, or taking leave without pay.

Some honorary appointments are also provided with Staff Allowance in recognition of the contribution they make to the College.

1.2 The allowance

Each eligible staff member has access to $2,500 per calendar year or the relevant pro-rata amount for work-related expenses.

The amount unspent at the end of year is carried forward into the following year. The maximum amount of carryover per year is the staff member's full annual allocation of $2500, combined with the current year’s allocation, giving a maximum possible allocation of $5000 in any given year. An unspent amount is not payable in cash and advances cannot ordinarily be made on a future year's allowance.

The allowance is not salary, nor an entitlement, and must be devoted to expenses related to work. On that basis, it is not subject to personal income tax.

1.3 Allowable expenditure

  • Travel and accommodation for work-related conferences, research field trips, primary carer responsibility[1] costs incurred as a result of attending a conference or research trip and other reasonable related expenses associated with the travel
  • Conference registration fees
  • Subscriptions for membership of professional and academic associations
  • Research assistance
  • Books, journals, law reports, materials and IT equipment purchases (such purchases, although used by the staff member while employed, remain the property of the College)
  • Administrative assistance for the preparation of student materials, grant applications, conference and seminar organisation, filing, web posting and photocopying
  • Tertiary study
  • Purchase of uniform including academic gown
  • Other related expenses as determined by the delegate

Advice on the types of allowable expenditure is available from the Deputy Dean, College General Manager, Director of Legal Workshop and from the College Finance Team.

Certain items may be liable for fringe benefits tax (FBT). Where an FBT liability is identified, the amount payable will be deducted from the remaining amount available in the staff allowance. Please seek advice from the College Finance Team in relation to FBT rulings before committing to any expenditure as this may significantly increase the amount of funds required for a particular purchase.

Please note that the cost of training courses that are required in order to carry out positional duties (eg maintenance of CPA or AHRI qualifications) and identified in the annual process of performance development will be directed through the staff professional development budget.

Professional staff are encouraged to make application to University-wide schemes that also support professional development costs, if eligible. This will reduce the cost to the College and staff allowance.

Professional staff career development scholarship scheme

Professional staff endowment fund

1.4 Practicing Certificates

Staff allowance cannot be used for the payment of fees, including insurance, associated with a Solicitor’s or Barrister’s Practicing Certificate. Academic staff who are required to hold a Practicing Certificate in order to carry out their duties in the College should discuss arrangements for the payment of the certificate with their Delegate

1.5 Tertiary Study

Staff allowance can be used to pay for tertiary study. However, payment will only be approved as a reimbursement after providing proof of successful completion of a course rather than paid upfront.

2. Procedure

All items of expenditure must, wherever possible, be approved by the appropriate delegate prior to purchase. Each staff member has their own unique finance code for their staff allowance and this should be used in any paperwork seeking payment from their staff allowance. Please ask the College Finance Team for your code and to check your current balance.

2.1 IT purchases

All IT purchases must be discussed with and approved by the College IT&C Manager to ensure compatibility with our systems.  A written business case for the equipment’s use (statement of need for the item, explanation for particular brand or model if specified, explanation of why existing IT equipment currently allocated to the staff member is not suitable for the needs identified) must accompany the request. If the item is not part of the standard ANU offering ( )then the business case, with endorsement from the College IT&C Manager, will go to the ANU CIO for final determination before the delegate can approve the purchase. Normally approval will not be given for items other than those approved for use in the University.

For example, if you require a laptop computer, there is a standard ANU laptop, as specified on the link above, and this is likely to be suitable for almost all staff and uses within the College. If you would like an Apple product, a tablet or other item not on the standard list, you must identify in your business case why a standard item from the list will not suffice.

The standard list currently only identifies PC items and is likely to be further expanded in the future. Please check this list when requiring IT equipment to see what is currently available as a standard item before preparing your business case.

The item must be purchased by the IT&C Unit staff via ANU processes. Under University Policy, purchasing new or replacement IT items, either hardware or software, on a University purchase card is not permitted[2], except for staff in the IT&C Unit, and doing so will result in staff being asked to repay the cost of the equipment. Equally, reimbursement of personal expenditure on IT equipment via staff allowance will not be approved by a Delegate.

The item purchased using staff allowance is a University asset and will be recorded on the appropriate University system against the staff member. The asset must not be disposed of, or passed on to anyone else without approval from the College IT&C Unit and must be able to be accounted for at all times by the staff member concerned. If the item is lost or stolen it needs to be reported to the IT&C team. If it becomes surplus to requirement and is laying unused at home or in the office, please return it to IT&C for possible reuse within the College. The asset must be returned when the staff member leaves the University, however there are provisions for the asset to be purchased under agreement with the University.

Devices approved by IT&C will be fully supported in terms of setup, provision and installation of software including virus protection, printer drivers, helpdesk assistance etc.

2.2 Salary expenditure

In the case where a staff member incurs salary costs through the employment of research assistants and administrative assistants as casual employees of ANU the following arrangements must be followed.

If you wish to employ a research assistant or an administrative assistant, please contact the Human Resources team at

As a general rule, a research assistant who is a current Law student is appointed at the level of ANUO 4 step 1, and a research assistant with Law degree is appointed at level ANUO 5/6 step 1. Standardised positon descriptions have been developed to assist you to determine the level of the position in relation to the duties, qualifications and experience expected of the RA. At times, it may be appropriate to appoint at a different level in a specific case.

The primary responsibility for identifying prospective research and administrative assistants lies with the staff member. The Human Resources team maintains a record of applications for potential research assistants. You may review these applications on request.

During the course of the research/administrative assistant’s employment, electronic timesheets relating to the employment must be signed online by the supervising staff member and lodged through the online timesheet system. The salary and on-costs (superannuation, workers’ compensation, payroll tax, casual loading and penalty rates, where applicable) are debited to the staff allowance.  Please be aware that students working on weekends and in excess of standard hours will attract penalty rates and will use more staff allowance as a result. You should give clear instructions to your Research Assistant up front regarding work time expectations.

Please note that for privacy and confidentiality reasons, employed students cannot be given access to staff accounts or computers, the internal web site or any system containing student information (e.g. Student 21). Computers for the use of student employees are located in the Whitmore Walk, and the IT&C Unit will approve accounts for students to use to access any information that academic staff will share with them.

2.3 Travel expenditure

Any agreement with your delegate to spend staff allowance on travel must be followed by an official travel approval submission through the travel approval system ( If you are travelling for a conference, this will allow you to add in all costs associated with your trip, such as conference fees, and attribute this to your individual staff allowance cost code, for one comprehensive approval by your Delegate. In case of emergency, the University will also know who is in what locations on a given date, allowing an emergency contact plan to be implemented.

3. Other items

Once you have received delegate approval to purchase an item or service, the following purchase/payment methods are available:

  1. ANU Purchase Card
  2. Reimbursement
  3. Direct payment to vendor

[1] Staff may also apply for funding under the Carers’ Career Development Assistance Fund

[2] Exceptions may be made when staff are travelling for replacement of damaged minor equipment, i.e. laptop power supply. This does not include whole laptops.

Updated: 24 October 2011/ Responsible Officer:  Manager, Finance / Page Contact:  Finance officer