Do you know what your mutual obligations are?

25 June 2020

We explain what mutual obligation requirements are and what you need to do.

If you’re new to Centrelink payments, you may not have heard of the term mutual obligation requirements.

You’ll have them if you’re getting 1 of the following payments:

Mutual obligation requirements are the tasks and activities you agree to do in order to keep your payment. They’re intended to help you find a job.

As coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions ease we’re reinstating requirements in a limited capacity. We’ll let you know when there are further changes.

Actions you can take now

Update your contact details

It’s important that you check your phone number and contact details are up to date. Log into your Centrelink account via myGov to do this.

Meet with your provider

From 9 June 2020 you’re required to have at least 1 appointment with your employment services provider.

Your provider will contact you via SMS, email or phone to book this appointment. You can do it either by phone or online.

Develop a Job Plan

At the moment, it’s voluntary to complete a Job Plan. However, we encourage you to complete one. At your first appointment with your provider you’ll discuss and develop your Job Plan.

Your Job Plan will suit your personal situation so you can get the help and support you need. Your plan lists your mutual obligation requirements. These are the tasks and activities you agree to do.

You’ll have both compulsory tasks and voluntary activities in your Job Plan.

Your compulsory tasks are:

  • attending appointments with your provider
  • a set number of job searches you need do each month.

The number of job searches is based on both:

  • your current situation
  • the local labour market.

Your voluntary activities may include training or learning new skills. Your provider must approve these activities before they’re added to your Job Plan.

Before you commit to your Job Plan, think about your employment goals. For example, you may have a long term employment goal of changing the industry you work in. To achieve that, you may need to complete further study at a university or TAFE. You can ask your provider to add part time study as an approved activity in your Job Plan once enrolled.

You might think you lack certain skills or experience that reduces your chances of getting a job. In your Job Plan, you could agree to develop these skills by completing a short course or doing voluntary work.

If your situation changes or you’re having trouble meeting your requirements, talk to your provider. They can tailor tasks or activities to suit your needs.

Getting an exemption

In certain circumstances, you may be able to get a temporary exemption from your requirements.

Start training, upskill and look for employment opportunities

We encourage you to stay in regular contact with your provider. They can support you and give you advice about training, upskilling and employment opportunities.

Your provider will also ask you to consider your employment and training goals, and how you can achieve them. There’s also job search resources available on the Department of Employment, Skills and Education website including:

  • Job Jumpstart to get tips on improving your job search and application skills
  • Jobs Hub helps you find advertised vacancies
  • Job Outlook incorporating Skills Match gives advice about what skills and jobs that are in demand.

You can find more information on the jobactive website including:

Report your income

In addition to meeting your mutual obligation requirements, you’ll need to report your income. You’ll need to do this to get your first payment and then every 2 weeks after that, even if it’s $0. This includes any income your partner gets.

Read more about income reporting.

You can also read more about the latest news for jobseekers.

Page last updated: 26 June 2020