What your commitments are

There are some things you must do to keep getting your Parenting Payment.

While getting Parenting Payment you need to do all the following:

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to either:

  • meet mutual obligation requirements
  • participate in ParentsNext.

Mutual obligation requirements

Mutual obligation requirements are tasks and activities you agree to do while getting Parenting Payment from us. They’ll apply to you when your youngest child turns 6 or if you’re a compulsory ParentsNext participant.

If you live in an area with lockdown restrictions

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve temporarily paused mutual obligation requirements for job seekers and participants that live in the following areas only:

State Location Duration of suspension period

Metropolitan Melbourne

Metropolitan Melbourne LGAs

Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra Ranges, Yarra

6 October 2021 to 28 October 2021
Mitchell Shire Local Government Area 6 October 2021 to 28 October 2021
Mildura Rural City Council Local Government Area 9 October 2021 to 26 October 2021
Australian Capital Territory ACT, except Jervis Bay 12 August 2021 to 19 October 2021

Southern Tasmania

Local Government Areas:

Brighton Council, Central Highlands Council, Clarence City Council, Derwent Valley Council, Glamorgan-Spring Bay Council, Glenorchy City Council, Hobart City Council, Huon Valley Council, Kingborough Council, Sorell Council, Southern Midlands Council, Tasman Council.

15 October 2021 to 20 October 2021

During this period, no payment suspensions or financial penalties will apply if you don’t meet your mutual obligation requirements.

You should continue to check when your requirements are due after the temporary pause of mutual obligation requirements end. If you’re unable to meet your job search requirements after the temporary pause ends, you need to call either:

You can find more information about:

If you live in NSW

Mutual obligation requirements in NSW are resuming after an extended period in lockdown. Attending provider appointments and agreeing to a job plan are compulsory from 14 October 2021.

Other activities will be voluntary until further notice for areas exiting an extended lockdown, which includes:

  • Greater Sydney
  • NSW Regional Local Government Areas of:
    Bathurst Regional, Broken Hill, Central Coast, City of Cessnock, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Lithgow, City of Maitland, City of Newcastle, City of Shellharbour, City of Shoalhaven, Dubbo, Eurobodalla, Goulburn Mulwaree, Jervis Bay, Kiama, Port Stephens, Queanbeyan-Palerang regional and Wingecarribee.

If you live outside of these areas, all mutual obligation requirements are now compulsory.

You should speak to your provider or check the dashboard in your jobactive account for more information.

If you live in other parts of Australia

You must meet all of your mutual obligation requirements.

This means doing the tasks and activities in your Job Plan or participation plan. Suspensions and penalties apply if you don’t.

If you’re in online employment services, you need to do the tasks on your dashboard.

You must attend all appointments with your provider.

If your youngest child is 6 or over you may be able to do this in any of the following ways:

  • over the phone
  • online
  • in person, if safe to do so.

You can opt-in to get face to face services by contacting your provider. If you do, you’ll go to appointments and activities in person, if it’s safe to do so.

If you don’t want face to face servicing, you may be able to do these over the phone or online.

If you’re a compulsory ParentsNext participant, you must attend all appointments with your provider. Your first appointment is usually face to face, but after that you can choose to attend appointments by phone or online. If you can’t attend your appointment in person, speak to your provider.

Read about mutual obligation requirements.

When penalties apply

There are demerits and financial penalties for not meeting your mutual obligation requirements.

This applies to you if you’re with one of these:

If you’re in the Community Development Program, the penalties are different.

When exemptions apply

You may be exempt from mutual obligation requirements in certain circumstances. This includes if you’re impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Read about what exemptions may apply.

Report employment income

If you get an income support payment from us, you must report any income you and your partner get. You may need to report every 2 weeks, even if it’s $0. This is so we pay you the right amount.

Before you get your first payment, you may need to report your and your partner’s income.

You can report your income in any of these ways, by:

You can check your reporting dates through your Centrelink online account.

When you report your income each fortnight, you may need to confirm you’re meeting your mutual obligation requirements.

Read about income reporting and get help using our Centrelink online account guides.

If you want to report your partner’s income online, you’ll need permission to enquire or have a nominee arrangement.

Change of circumstances

You must tell us if things change as it may affect your Parenting Payment.

You can tell us using the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app or your Centrelink online account through myGov.

Read about what you need to tell us.

Next: How to manage your payment

Your options for Parenting Payment.

Page last updated: 15 October 2021