1.1.M.160 Mutual obligation requirements

Definition

Mutual obligation requirements, which are referred to as activity test or participation requirements in social security law, include all job search-related or employment preparation activities a person can be compelled to undertake in return for activity tested payments, unless they have an exemption (3.11.5).

The activities that a person must undertake to meet their mutual obligation requirements are usually included in their Job Plan (1.1.J.25).

Mutual obligation requirements are based on the principle that it is fair and reasonable to expect unemployed people receiving activity tested income support to do their best to find work, undertake activities that will improve their skills and increase their employment prospects and, in some circumstances, contribute something to their community in return for receiving income support.

For arrangements on how mutual obligation requirements are determined, and the types of activities people are expected to undertake, see 3.11.

Act reference: SSAct section 601 Activity test (JSP), section 603AA Relief from activity test-people 55 and over …, section 603AB Relief from the activity test-certain principal carers …, section 541 Activity test (YA), section 544DA(4) YA Employment Pathway Plans-early school leavers, section 541(2)(aa) Requirement to undertake paid work

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.11 Mutual obligation requirements, 3.11.3 Suitable activities, 3.11.5 Exemptions - overview

Last reviewed: 20 March 2020