Explainer – Mutual obligation requirements

Learn more about mutual obligations requirements.

Mutual obligation requirements return from 1 August 2022 to participants in Workforce Australia Online, Workforce Australia Services, ParentsNext and Disability Employment Services.

Mutual obligation requirements return from 1 August 2022 for participants in Workforce Australia Online, Workforce Australia Services, ParentsNext and Disability Employment Services. 

For participants in NSW flood regions, mutual obligations will remain lifted until 31 August 2022.

Mutual obligation requirements will apply from 1 August 2022. This includes requirements such as agreeing a Job Plan or Participation Plan, attending provider and other compulsory appointments, following up on job referrals, attending job interviews and accepting any suitable job offer. Participants must contact their employment services provider or the department’s contact centre if they can't meet their obligations before they're due. Compliance action may be taken if these obligations are not met without a good reason.

In return for receiving certain income support payments, participants undertake tasks and activities to help them find a job. These mutual obligation requirements are agreed to as part of a Job Plan or Participation Plan (for ParentsNext participants). Workforce Australia Employment Services Providers or the department’s contact centres support participants to understand and meet their mutual obligation requirements.

To meet obligations participants may need to:

  • agree to a Job Plan or Participation Plan
  • meet a points target each reporting period, including any minimum job search requirement (not for participants in Disability Employment Services or ParentsNext)
  • attend appointments 
  • follow up on job referrals 
  • attend job interviews
  • accept suitable paid work 
  • keep an up-to-date profile (Workforce Australia Online only)

Participants can use their homepage in Workforce Australia Online to track and report obligations, see when the tasks and activities they need to complete are due and how they are tracking towards meeting a points target, if they have one.

The Workforce Australia Points Based Activation System gives participants more choice and flexibility in how they can meet their mutual obligation requirements. For each reporting period, an individual will need to earn a set number of points, their points target, and can choose from a range of tasks and activities to earn those points. Tasks and activities like completing a job application, study or training, paid work and volunteering can count towards meeting the participant’s points target.

To support participants transition to the Points Based Activation System, Workforce Australia Services and Workforce Australia Online participants will have a further reporting period where no compliance action will be raised for not meeting a points target. This means that compliance action for not meeting points targets will start from September 2022. All other requirements apply. 

Participants now have an opportunity to explore the system and find out more about the range of tasks and activities they can undertake to meet their points target and their points values. They can also bank points if they earn over their points target, up to half the value of a points target in any reporting period. A provider or the department’s contact centre can at any time adjust a points target based on an individual’s personal circumstances and local labour market conditions. 

Not all participants have the same mutual obligation requirements, individuals can check their homepage or speak with their provider to see what applies to them. If your requirements are not appropriate for your circumstances and you need your points targets adjusted, you should talk to your provider or the department’s contact centre immediately.

Arrangements for Disability Employment Services, ParentsNext, Transition to Work and the Community Development Program participants

Participants in Disability Employment Services, ParentsNext, Transition to Work or the Community Development Program, do not use the Points Based Activation System. They continue to report job search or activities the same way they do now.

From 1 August 2022, participation requirements recommence for ParentsNext and Disability Employment Services. These can be tailored to individual needs by a provider.

There are no changes to arrangements for Community Development Program participants.

Special arrangements for job seekers in NSW flood regions

The temporary suspension of mutual obligation requirements for participants in 37 New South Wales local government areas due to the recent rain event and flooding remains in place until 31 August 2022. For more information, visit: Temporary suspensions of obligations

Contact

Individuals in Workforce Australia Services can speak with their employment services provider or contact the National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260.

Participants in Workforce Australia Online can call 1800 314 677 to talk to the Digital Services Contact Centre. 

More information

Correct at time of publication.