Work test

You must work at least 960 hours during each 12 month period to pass the work test. We call this a bonus period.

That’s an average of 18 hours and 25 minutes of work a week. You can work outside Australia but you need to work at least 640 of the 960 hours in Australia.

We can only count the hours you spend working. We can’t count leave. This includes any type of paid or unpaid leave.

The work test is flexible to meet all types of working patterns, such as seasonal work or regular hours. For example, you can pass the work test if you work 30 hours a week over 32 weeks.

When you have a partner

If you and your partner are members of the Pension Bonus Scheme, only one of you needs to pass the work test.

If you both work, you can’t add your hours and your partner’s hours together. For example, if you work 12 hours each week and your partner works 10, your work hours are 12. You can't add your partner's work hours to make your total 22.

What types of work do and don't count

To meet the work test, your work must include all of the following:

  • considerable personal, or physical and mental effort
  • provide goods or a service
  • be for financial gain or reward.

Examples of work that count:

  • running a commercial business
  • domestic work in other people’s homes
  • self-employment, for example with a cleaning business.

Examples of work that don’t count:

  • managing your or your family’s financial investments within a family company or trust
  • managing your and your family’s financial investments and bank accounts
  • domestic work in your own home.

What records of work to keep

You need to keep a record of the following:

  • type of work
  • dates worked
  • hours worked
  • hours worked outside Australia
  • employer details.

Add up the hours you've worked so you know if you’re on track to work the hours required. You need to do this if there’s a chance you may not pass the work test.

You can use the Pension Bonus Scheme work record to help you keep track of your hours.

You might need to show us:

  • your payment summaries and tax returns
  • your own record of work, such as a diary
  • the Pension Bonus Scheme work record
  • an invoice book
  • printouts showing hours worked
  • a contract of service
  • profit statements.

In some cases, you might need to show us a letter from your employer or accountant.

If you provide these documents yearly, at the end of each 12 month period, we’ll give you an Evidentiary Certificate. The certificate is a letter confirming you’ve passed the work test. When you claim your bonus, you can show us your certificates to prove you’ve passed the work test. You may have more than one certificate if your claim covers multiple years.

When you don’t pass the work test due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you or your partner don’t pass the work test due to COVID-19, you can still continue in the scheme. You’ll be in a non-accruing period for the time you can’t work between 30 March 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Page last updated: 17 November 2022.
QC 30286