Mutual obligation requirements

Mutual obligation requirements are tasks and activities you agree to do while getting certain payments from us. Penalties may apply if you don’t meet them.

What mutual obligation requirements are

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.

If you’re required to look for work, you 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 without a valid reason.

If you don’t meet your requirements, demerits and financial penalties may apply.

You have different requirements if you’re any of these:

Who has mutual obligation requirements

You have mutual obligation requirements if you get any of these:

You have participation requirements if you get either:

Read about what your commitments are if you’re a ParentsNext participant.

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 you’ve been paid 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.

Sign in to myGov

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 monthly points target is 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.

Read more about your points target on the Workforce Australia website, including content in your language.

You don’t have a points target if you’re a participant in either of these Workforce Australia programs:

  • Transition to Work
  • ParentsNext.

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:

When your personal circumstances change

You need to tell us if your personal circumstances change, such as moving or starting a new relationship, your regular work hours increase or reduce or you find 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 your circumstances changing when you get one of the following payments:

Job seekers in online employment services or Workforce Australia Online can call the Digital Services Contact Centre on the Workforce Australia website.

What exemptions may apply

You may get a temporary exemption from your requirements in certain circumstances.

This could be something like:

  • you’re experiencing a crisis such as the death of an immediate family member, family and domestic violence or being homeless
  • you’re sick or injured and have an approved medical certificate
  • you’re affected by a disaster such as fire or flood
  • you have short term caring duties
  • you’re pregnant and it’s less than 6 weeks before the expected date of birth or less than 6 weeks after birth
  • 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 need an exemption for a reason that doesn’t include being sick or injured, 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 you’re impacted by COVID-19.

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.

Page last updated: 17 May 2023.
QC 29751

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