Mutual obligation requirements may apply to you

18 September 2020

From 28 September 2020, if you have mutual obligation requirements, you must start meeting them.

Mutual obligation requirements are tasks and activities you’ve agreed to do.

These requirements are in your Job Plan. If you haven’t agreed to a Job Plan yet, you’ll need to do this now. If you don’t, we may suspend your payment until you do.

If you don’t meet your requirements, you risk having your payment suspended or getting other financial penalties.

If you live in Victoria, no suspensions or penalties apply if you can’t meet your mutual obligation requirements.  We’ll let you know when this changes.

You have mutual obligation requirements if you get 1 of these payments:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Youth Allowance as a job seeker
  • Parenting Payment single after your youngest child turns 6
  • Special Benefit paid under certain circumstances.

You'll also have them if you either:

  • get both the JobKeeper Payment and 1 of these payments
  • are a compulsory ParentsNext participant.

However, if you’re a sole trader or self-employed, you’re exempt from them.

There are penalties for not meeting your mutual obligation requirements. This includes losing some or all of your fortnightly payment, or having your payment suspended or cancelled.

You can avoid these penalties by making sure you do your tasks and activities. Here are some tips to help you avoid penalties.

If you can’t go to an appointment or do an activity, you need to call either:

  • your provider, if you have one
  • the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s Digital Services Contact Centre, if you’re in online employment services.

Make sure you call beforehand to let them know why you can’t attend.

If you need a temporary exemption from your requirements, call us on our regular payment line.

If you find it hard to meet your mutual obligation requirements, talk to your provider. They may change your Job Plan to suit your current situation.

From 28 September 2020, your mutual obligation requirements may be more flexible. You may be able to do study and training that give you skills for jobs in areas of high labour demand. You can read more about training on the myskills website. There’s information about short courses through JobTrainer on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.

While you’re studying or training, your job search requirements may reduce.

Read about:

Watch these videos to understand your obligations:

Read more about the resumption of Community Development Program full servicing on the National Indigenous Australians Agency website.

For more information about studying and training, including JobTrainer, contact either:

  • your provider, if you have one
  • the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s Digital Services Contact Centre, if you’re in online employment services.

Page last updated: 14 October 2020