Support with a medical condition

Agencies are required to sensitively and respectfully manage existing employees whose attendance and performance may be affected by mental or physical illness or disability.

The Mental or Physical Incapacity Guideline provide guidance to agencies in applying section 174 of the Public Service Act 2008 (PDF, 1.17MB), based on the principles of:

  • sensitivity
  • early and informal intervention
  • open communication
  • procedural fairness
  • retirement as the last resort.

Medical retirement

Directive 03/15 Voluntary Medical Retirement is currently being piloted in 11 government agencies for public service employees that are unable to continue or return to their role for medical reasons.

An employee who is considering resigning or retiring because of mental or physical incapacity should be provided with information about their entitlements. They should also contact QSuper or WorkCover about other compensation or entitlements they may be able to access.


Employees are not required to disclose details about any mental or physical health conditions, however, if a condition is impacting on their ability to undertake their role satisfactorily, you may address this with the employee.

These concerns should be addressed informally to begin with, and you should be prepared to discuss how the suspected incapacity is impacting on their ability to do the role, and explore options for reasonable adjustment. You should talk to your human resources team on how to approach the conversations.

You need to consider your obligations under: