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We have information in different languages about Mutual obligation requirements
For Centrelink payments and services, you can call our multilingual phone service.
Mutual obligation requirements are tasks and activities you agree to do, to help you find a job. Your Job Plan includes these details.
You can find out if there is a pause of requirements.
To keep getting your payment, you need to do all of the following:
- agree to a Job Plan
- meet the requirements of your plan
- go to appointments with your employment services provider, if you have one.
You may also need to complete and report your job searches.
You may need to look for work as a requirement to keep getting your payment. You’ll need to do all of the following:
- go to all job interviews
- accept any offer of suitable paid work
- not leave a job, training course or program, unless you have a valid reason.
If you don’t meet your requirements, demerits and financial penalties may apply.
You have different requirements if you’re:
You have mutual obligation requirements if you get:
- JobSeeker Payment
- Youth Allowance for job seekers
- Parenting Payment single after your youngest child turns 6
- Special Benefit paid under certain conditions.
You have participation requirements if both of the following apply:
- you get Disability Support Pension (DSP)
- you are younger than 35 and meet other rules.
How to meet your requirements
To meet your requirements, you need to do all the things you’ve agreed to do in your Job Plan.
You’ll also need to report any employment income in the past 14 days to us. This includes your partner’s income. You need to tell us even if it’s $0.
Keep in mind, you must report your and your partner’s income before we can make your first payment.
If your Centrelink online account is linked to myGov you can check your reporting dates online.
You can also use the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.
If you don’t have a myGov account or a Centrelink online account you’ll need to create them.
The points target
If you’re with Workforce Australia you’ll have a points target. You’ll need to earn a set number of points each month to meet your requirements.
Your provider will calculate your monthly points target based on your personal circumstances and local labour market conditions. You earn points for doing tasks and activities that help you to find and keep work, such as:
- applying for jobs
- participating in training
- going to job interviews.
Your points target may include a minimum job search requirement. If you don’t meet your requirements, you may get a demerit or a penalty.
You can find your points target and track your progress using your Workforce Australia online account either by:
- signing in to myGov and selecting Workforce Australia
- using the Workforce Australia mobile app.
You don’t have a points target if you’re a participant in either of these Workforce Australia programs:
- Transition to Work
The points target also doesn’t apply to participants in either:
- the Community Development Program
- Disability Employment Services.
If you’re unable to meet your requirements
If you’re unable to meet your requirements, you’ll need to either:
- let your employment services provider know, if you have one
- call the Digital Services Contact Centre if you’re in Workforce Australia Online.
When your personal circumstances change
You need to tell us if your personal circumstances change. For example, you may be:
- starting a new relationship
- having an increase or reduction in your regular work hours
- finding it hard to meet your requirements.
If you don’t tell us, we could overpay you and you’ll need to pay us back. Or you could miss out on extra support.
Read how to tell us about change in your circumstances when you get one of the following payments:
If you’re a Workforce Australia Online participant, you can find more information on how to reach out to them on the Workforce Australia website.
You may find it hard to meet your requirements in certain circumstances. If so, you can ask us for a temporary exemption.
You may get a temporary exemption if you’re experiencing a crisis such as:
- the death of an immediate family member
- family and domestic violence
- being homeless.
You may also get a temporary exemption in other situations such as:
- you’re sick or injured and have an approved medical certificate
- disaster such as fire or flood has affected you
- you have short term caring duties
- you’re pregnant and the expected date of birth is less than 6 weeks away
- you had a baby less than 6 weeks ago
- you’re a principal carer of 4 or more dependent children.
If you’re sick or injured, you may be temporarily exempt from your requirements. You’ll need to give us an approved medical certificate. You can do this by either:
The medical certificate must state why you’re unfit to work and for how long. You’ll need to give us a medical certificate if you’re getting any of the following:
If you’re not sick or injured and you need an exemption, call us on your regular payment line. You’ll need to give us proof of your circumstances.
While we assess your request for an exemption, you need to keep meeting your requirements. This includes attending appointments with your provider.
If you have any concerns about attending face-to-face meetings or training talk to your provider. This includes if COVID-19 has affected you.
If you’re a principal carer
You may be exempt from mutual obligation requirements in some family situations.
Read about exemptions for principal carers.
If you have a reduced capacity to work
If you have a medical condition that affects your ability to work, you’ll need to tell us. You may have a reduced capacity to work, but we’ll need to assess this.
A reduced capacity means you can’t work at least 30 hours a week, usually due to an ongoing medical condition. You’ll need to attend your appointments and meet your compulsory requirements unless we give you an exemption.
Sometimes there may be a pause of your mutual obligation or participation requirements.
These are tasks and activities you agree to do to keep getting your payment. They give you a better chance of finding work.
Information for job seekers about mutual obligation requirements in the Community Development Program.