188.8.131.52 Suitable activity - Work for the Dole
WFD is an approved program of work for income support payments as declared by the Employment Secretary under SSAct section 28.
WFD activities provide work experience placements for job seekers that benefit local communities. They can only take place in not-for-profit organisations or local, state/territory and Australian Government organisations and agencies.
Employment services providers are required to ensure WFD activities:
- provide work experience that will develop or enhance a job seeker's ability to work as part of a team (where relevant), take directions from a supervisor, work independently, communicate effectively and improve job seeker motivation and dependability
- encourage local community involvement in activities that will generate outcomes to benefit the community
- provide work-like experience opportunities for eligible job seekers that will assist them in re-engaging with their community and the workplace.
Employment services providers must also ensure job seekers are provided with relevant work health and safety training where this is required for an activity (note that these do not fall under the category of accredited vocational training for the purposes of reducing a job seeker's obligation in WFD).
Act reference: SSAct section 28 Approved programs of work for income support payment
To be required to do WFD, job seekers must:
- be 18 years or over and under the age of 60, and
- be receiving the full rate income support, and
- not be undertaking a suitable activity that already allows the job seeker to fully meet mutual obligation requirements, and
- not be exempt from mutual obligation requirements, and
- not have an illness, injury or disability that would be aggravated by the work conditions.
Failure to commence, complete or comply with the conditions of a WFD activity can result in compliance action under the targeted compliance framework (3.1.14) or the job seeker compliance framework (3.1.13) (for those participating in CDP).
Participating in WFD while undertaking paid work
Job seekers who obtain paid work for more than one fortnight, and as a result, receive a reduced rate of payment, may choose to exit WFD. If the duration of paid work is less than one fortnight, the job seeker should not be taken off the placement.
Job seekers participating in WFD are paid an APWS of $20.80 per fortnight to assist them to meet the additional costs of participation in the activity (184.108.40.206). The supplement is taxable, but is exempt from the income test.
The supplement is not paid on a pro-rata basis. The full payment is made for the fortnights in which the activity begins and ends, regardless of the actual number of participation hours completed in those fortnights. If a job seeker leaves a project without good reason, the supplement will cease to be paid from the first payday after the job seeker ends participation on the activity.
WFD supplement during an employment income nil rate period
A job seeker who qualifies for the supplement can have it paid during an employment income nil rate period because they are deemed to be receiving their social security pension or benefit during that period for the purposes of the supplement (3.8.18).
Example: Talia is getting NSA and participating in a WFD activity at the local animal shelter. She starts a casual job and in the first fortnight her income is above the cut-off point, so NSA is no longer payable. She starts an employment income nil rate period. Talia decides to continue to participate in the WFD project as she enjoys working with animals and there are prospects of getting a permanent job at the shelter. She will be paid the WFD supplement during the employment income nil rate period, provided she continues to participate in the project and remains qualified for the employment income nil rate period.
Act reference: SSAct section 28 Approved programs of work for income support payment, section 601 Activity test, section 606 Newstart Employment Pathway Plans-terms, section 607 Newstart Employment Pathway Plans-principal carers, section 607A Newstart Employment Pathway Plans-people with partial capacity to work, section 607B Newstart Employment Pathway Plans-requirement to participate in an approved program of work, section 541 Activity test, section 544B YA Employment Pathway Plans-terms