JobSeeker Payments and Mutual Obligation requirements

  1. Mutual obligation suspensions for Workforce Australia and recent flooding in NSW
  2. ACOSS response to recently-announced changes to the new Workforce Australia system
  3. Transition to Workforce Australia and PBAS
  4. Obtaining JobSeeker and other Centrelink payments
  5. Help with Centrelink and employment services issues
  6. Mutual obligation snapshots
  7. ACOSS advocacy on Mutual Obligations and New Employment Services
  8. Mutual obligations in the pandemic and other disasters

Mutual obligation suspensions for Workforce Australia and recent flooding in NSW

Update 1 August 2022

In a welcome development, compliance action for not meeting Points-based Activation targets has been suspended for another reporting period, to enable the smooth transition to the new systems and reporting requirements until the end of August 2022.

They have also been suspended in some NSW LGAs due to recent flooding.

Find out more about how the suspension of Mutual Obligations might affect you here.


ACOSS response to recently-announced changes to the new Workforce Australia system.

In our public statement today, ACOSS welcomed the changes announced by Employment Minister Tony Burke earlier this week to the new Workforce Australia employment service system. We see them as good first steps in reforming a seriously flawed system. The new system, which starts from Monday 4 July, includes a new Points Based Activation System, as well as online employment services for people closer to employment.

Read more about ACOSS’s views on the changes announced by Minister Burke on PBAS and Workforce Australia here.

Information on Points-based activation (PBAS) and Workforce Australia

Workforce Australia is replacing jobactive from 1 July 2022. There is a range of changes to employment services that will affect people who are currently in jobactive that ACOSS is preparing information about.

See Points-based Activation in Workforce Australia – FAQ – ACOSS

See Mutual obligations and the New Employment Services model (NESM) – ACOSS

ACOSS is advocating for some urgent changes to Workforce Australia including removing suspensions for missing the first appointment, introducing automatic points-credits and preventing reporting requirements from becoming too onerous.

Obtaining JobSeeker and other Centrelink payments

Job seeker payment

If you lose employment, you can find out which payment applies to you on the Services Australia ‘How to get a payment’ page, and apply for income support online through MyGov. MyGov may have delays, please try again later if you cannot get through.
We know many people do not have online access – the phone number for accessing the JobSeeker Payment is 132 850.

Before applying in person at a Centrelink office, consider the COVID-19 health restrictions in your state/territory.

Help with Centrelink and employment services issues

There are organisations that can advise and support you if you’re having problems with your income support payment or employment service. Unfortunately, ACOSS is unable to provide advice and support in individual cases.

For legal help with Centrelink payments, visit Economic Justice Australia’s webpage

If you’re facing financial hardship or mental health issues, there are services that can help:

Mutual obligations during the pandemic and other disasters

When communities are affected by extreme weather events, natural disasters and pandemics such as COVID-19, the federal Government suspends mutual obligation requirements for a period of time. These mutual obligation suspensions are listed on the webpage.

Mutual obligation suspensions usually mean that penalties for not completing mutual obligation requirements under the Targeted Compliance Framework do not apply. However, it is always important to check what requirements apply to you on the job seeker dashboard, or by checking with your provider, the Digital/National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260.

When Mutual Obligation suspensions are lifted, regular job search and other mutual obligation requirements return.

If you are unable to attend an appointment, activity or meet a job search target, please contact your provider before the date it is due. Providers should be exercising COVID-safe practices and taking into account your situation and labour market conditions when setting requirements for you.

In particular, you should be able to practice COVID safety precautions such as attending COVID testing and self-isolating as required. However, it is important that you contact your provider if you are unable to attend or meet a requirement because of the impact of observing COVID safety precautions before it is due.

There are complex rules in every state depending on the Health Orders that employment services providers should be following in relation to the provision of face-to-face services. If you are unable to meet employment services requirements due to your vaccination status you may be eligible to apply for a medication exemption. Please read this fact sheet for more information. Job Seeker Participant – return to face to face servicing factsheet

Please let [email protected] know if you encounter any issues in this regard.

For updates, check this Government webpage: