The Australian Public Service (APS) is committed to providing flexible, safe and rewarding workplaces for all employees.
The health benefits of work are clear. Not only is work good for people, healthy workforces deliver greater productivity and employee engagement, and support increased workforce participation and inclusion. Health assessments—sometimes referred to as ‘fitness for duty’ assessments—are just one tool in a range of options available to support employees with health conditions to safely stay at or return to work. However, successful outcomes rely on health assessments being used appropriately, managed effectively and all parties working together towards a shared goal.
The Working Together: Strengthening our approach to health assessments in the APS guides aim to arm managers and employees with the right information on health assessments and how they can be used to support employees with health conditions to safely work to their full potential. The guides provide practical tips and advice for managers and employees, as well as useful tools to assist in managing health assessments.
This guide builds on the Australian Public Service Commission's work on absence management, the As One—APS Disability Employment Strategy and the Working Together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work publication.
I would like to thank the agencies that contributed to the development of these guides, including: the Australian Taxation Office; Comcare; Department of Defence; Department of Employment; Department of Finance; Department of Health; Department of Human Services; Department of Industry; Department of Veteran's Affairs; and all our colleagues across the APS.
Creating safe, healthy and engaged workplaces where the health benefits of work can be fully realised is something we must all work together to achieve.
Stephen Sedgwick AO, FIPAA
Australian Public Service Commission
How to use this guide
The purpose of this guide is to provide APS employees with practical information on health assessments in the APS. Health assessments are commonly referred to as ‘fitness for duty’ assessments. However, in this guidance they are referred to as ‘health assessments’.
Situations involving your health and your employment are complex, so it is important to interpret the advice in this guidance according to the facts and needs of your specific situation.
This guide should be read in conjunction with the corresponding guidance for managers and the Australian Public Service Commission's policy advice on directing an employee to attend a medical examination.