1.1.P.418 Principal carer - study

Definition

Principal carers in DES or jobactive are considered to be fully meeting their part-time mutual obligation requirements by participating in approved study of at least 30 hours per fortnight, including both contact and non-contact hours.

PP recipients and principal carer (YA, NSA, SpB) job seekers are also able to meet their mutual obligation requirements by complying with the terms of their Job Plan. One of the approved activities that principal carers can participate in to meet their requirements is approved study, however, such study must be included as a compulsory item in the recipient's Job Plan.

Approved study for NSA, YA & SpB recipients

Principal carers receiving NSA, YA (job seeker) and SpB who are undertaking study as part of their mutual obligation requirements need to comply with the following:

  • the course must be approved under Student Assistance Act 1973 section 5D, to be a secondary course a tertiary course or a VET course for the purposes of that Act, and
  • the principal carer must have the approved course included as a compulsory item in their Job Plan, and
  • the approved short course policy must be adhered to, unless
    • the principal carer is transferring from PPS to NSA or YA and has already commenced studying an approved course before the transfer, OR
    • for NSA recipients only, the principal carer is single and is granted PES for an approved course.

PPS recipients who begin an approved course prior to transferring to either NSA or YA (job seeker) are able to complete the course they started as part of their mutual obligation requirements.

Act reference: Student Assistance Act 1973 section 5D Minister may determine secondary and tertiary courses etc.

Approved study for PPS recipients

A PPS recipient is able to participate in any course approved under Student Assistance Act 1973 section 5D. There are no course length restrictions on PPS recipients who choose to study to meet their mutual obligation requirements.

Approved study for single principal carers on NSA who are receiving PES

An NSA recipient who is also a single principal carer, who has been granted PES, is able to undertake approved study as part of their mutual obligation requirements. These single principal carers are able to participate in any course approved under Student Assistance Act 1973 section 5D for which they have been approved PES.

Combination of study with other activities

A principal carer receiving income support in jobactive or DES can fully meet their mutual obligation requirements through any combination of part-time study, part-time paid work, and approved voluntary work (in some circumstances) as long as the total combined hours are at least 30 hours per fortnight, where the study hours include both contact and non-contact hours.

Hours of study

When calculating the amount of time a recipient spends studying, the total number of contact and non-contact hours is combined.

Confirmation of a recipient's contact hours for the purposes of study requires checking the course outline produced by the educational institution.

In confirming a recipient's non-contact hours, a delegate should consider:

  • the course outline
  • any assessable items that the person is required to complete in order to pass the course
  • any additional indications of the time required to complete the course provided by the course educator
  • the person's previous education experience, and
  • the person's circumstances.

Example: Sarah is a PP recipient in jobactive, and is studying a Bachelor of Information Technology at her local university. Sarah informs DHS that she is currently studying 2 units per semester which consists of a total of 8 contact (tutorials and lectures) hours per week. In addition to the contact hours her course requires that she complete assignments, prepare for tutorials and read the assigned text. Sarah states that she spends at least 7 hours per week on these additional activities. In total Sarah is spending 15 hours per week (30 hours per fortnight) on her studies. DHS confirms that Sarah has a number of assignments to complete in addition to her tutorial work and also takes into account that Sarah has not studied for the past 5 years. DHS considers that an estimate of 7 hours non-contact per week is reasonable in Sarah's situation. DHS enters the course in Sarah's Job Plan. As Sarah is fully meeting her mutual obligation requirements through study, she does not need to be connected with an employment services provider while studying.

Act reference: SSAct section 541(1AA) Persons who comply with Employment Pathway Plan, section 601(4) Activity test, section 731A(11) Activity test

Last reviewed: 1 July 2019