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Mutual obligation

As a job seeker participating in jobactive you will need to meet mutual obligation requirements in return for income support payment.

To meet these requirements, you will be required to look for work and participate in activities that will improve your employment prospects.

These requirements include:

  • entering into a Job Plan and fully complying with the requirements in your Job Plan;
  • attending regular appointments with ECHO;
  • actively looking and applying for work;
  • attending job interviews;
  • undertaking activities to meet your annual activity requirement, and
  • any other activities included in your Job Plan to improve your employment prospects.

Your Consultant at ECHO will be responsible for setting your mutual obligation requirements in accordance with the jobactive Deed, relevant Guidelines and social security law.

Looking and Applying for Work

You will need to report your job search to ECHO each month and will generally be required to complete 20 job applications per month. (This also applies to those job seekers with part-time mutual obligation requirements, that is, job seekers who have an assessed partial capacity to work or who are principal carer parents.) The number will be set by ECHO taking into account your personal circumstances and the labour market.

The number of job applications required by Stream C job seekers and job seekers aged 60 years and over will depend on their capacity. However, in general they are expected to undertake 10 per month.

The Annual Activity Requirement

The annual activity requirement is a set number of hours that a job seeker must complete in approved Activities for six months each year of servicing during the Work for the Dole Phase. All job seekers under 60 years of age have an annual activity requirement.

The specific number of hours required to meet the annual activity requirement depends on your age and if you have full-time or part-time mutual obligation requirements.

Job seekers with mutual obligation requirements, who are under 30 years of age and who have:

  • full-time requirements will have an annual requirement to participate in approved activities for 650 hours over 26 weeks (50 hours per fortnight)
  • part-time requirements will have an annual requirement to participate in approved activities for 390 hours over 26 weeks (30 hours per fortnight)

Job seekers with mutual obligation requirements, who are aged 30 to 59 years and who have:

  • full-time requirements will have an annual requirement to participate in approved activities for 390 hours over 26 weeks (30 hours per fortnight)
  • part-time requirements will have an annual requirement to participate in approved activities for 200 hours over 26 weeks  (15 hours per fortnight)

Job seekers aged 60 years and over do not have an annual activity requirement.

Work for the Dole is the principal activity for those job seekers under 50 years of age to satisfy their annual activity requirement. If this applies to you, and you are not already in another suitable activity at the start of your jobactive Work for the Dole phase, you will be expected to commence in Work for the Dole.

You can meet your annual activity requirement by undertaking sufficient hours in one or a combination of:

  • paid work;
  • Work for the Dole;
  • voluntary work;
  • unpaid work experience;
  • an accredited language, literacy and numeracy course (includes the Skills for Education and
  • Employment programme and Adult Migrant English Programme);
  • part-time study / training at certificate III or higher;
  • Defence Force Reserves;
  • other government programmes (including state government programmes and the Green Army Programme); and / or
  • Stream C job seekers, interventions that address non-vocational issues

ECHO staff will be responsible for monitoring your compliance with all of your mutual obligation requirements.  Where you do not comply with these requirements, ECHO must report this to the Department of Human Services (Centrelink). Human Services will then investigate the report and will determine if you had a reasonable excuse.  If you did not have a reasonable excuse, a penalty will be applied.