Mutual obligations and the New Employment Services model (NESM)

This briefing explains changes to mutual obligation requirements in the New Employment Services that will be called Workforce Australia, from 1 July 2022.

Digital and Enhanced Services

People who are classified as ‘job ready’ will mostly become Digital Employment Service users for the first year they are looking for a job. The other half of people who are assessed as having more significant barriers to getting jobs or a lack of digital literacy, will be referred to a new service currently referred to as ‘Enhanced Services’. Enhanced services will involve appointments with a provider to establish and review job plans and to customise the new points-based activation requirements to the individual’s circumstances.

Six-monthly activity requirement (SMAR) instead of Annual Actvity requirement (AAR)

The current AAR phase of 6-months of activity will be phased out in 2022, and when Workforce Australia begins on 1 July, there will be a six-monthly activity requirement instead. This SMAR will involve two-months of activity in the range of activities that are similar to those that people could do during the AAR. Examples of these activities are Work for the Dole, Employability Skills Training, part-time work,  training, and voluntary work.

Employability Skills Training will be expanded

Employability Skills Training (EST) which will become a major new activity for people who are required to participate in employment services. EST is a work-preparation training and industry immersion program that was compulsory for people aged under 25 years as part of the broader Youth Jobs Path suite of programs.

EST involves two blocks of training, that draw on units from Certificate courses for Work Preparation. The revamped EST in Workforce Australia will comprise two months of this training, face-to-face and in a group setting. In Workforce Australia, people streamed into Digital Services will be required to undertake EST after 4 months and in Enhanced Services after 6 months.

It is also expected that EST Providers will also deliver a new Placement Management Service, which will involve brokering work experience placements that last for one month. These work experience placements will be part of an expanded National Work Experience Program in which providers and employers will both receive a $1000 payment, while the person who does the Work Experience will receive a $200 per fortnight income support supplement.

Digital employment services will be extended with Points-based activation

Points-based activation will replace the standard 20 jobs per month target with a range of different activities and tasks. The idea behind Points-based activation is to enable people to use a variety of methods to demonstrate they are actively seeking work, or taking steps to address issues that may be preventing them from being able to work.

Work for the Dole will be changing

Work for the Dole is being updated in Workforce Australia.  Host Organisations and Providers will be encouraged to consider the core competencies and work-like experience that can be addressed in these activities. These projects may include the attainment of a licence, qualification or other recognised skill/core competency acquisition. The activities will be available for two months instead of 6 months.

Related Information

I Want to Work report

ACOSS Submission: Point-Based Activation in the New Employment Services

201208 ACOSS submission – new employment service payment model

ACOSS submission employment service licensing

ACOSS submission on the NESM Exposure Draft

ACOSS Submission on the SPROM Bill

ACOSS Submission on Future Employment Services