3.11.1.10 Setting job search requirements

Setting monthly job search requirements

The number of jobs a person is required to search for each month is not specified in legislation and delegates of the Secretary (usually employment services providers) determine the appropriate number of job searches required per month and specify this in job seekers' Job Plans.

The number of job searches generally expected to be undertaken by job seekers (including principal carer parents and those with a partial capacity to work (15-29 hours per week)) is:

  • for job seekers in jobactive
    • Stream A and B job seekers - 20 job searches per month
    • Stream C job seekers and job seekers aged 60 years and over - job search is dependent on their capacity. In general they will be expected to undertake 10 job searches per month
  • for job seekers in DES
    • job search is dependent on their capacity
  • for job seekers in the CDP
    • it is at the provider's discretion to determine the number of job searches a job seeker should undertake based on the availability of jobs in the area, seasonal employment, transport and the job seeker's personal circumstances.

Reasons for a job seeker's job search requirements to be reduced

As local labour market conditions and job seeker circumstances frequently change, specific rules on when to vary a job seeker's job search requirement are included in operational guidelines used by employment services providers. The broad principles underpinning those guidelines are outlined here. There are also some prescribed circumstances in which employment services providers can reduce the number of job searches a job seeker is required to undertake. These include:

  • physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment, where this reasonably impedes job search
  • treatment for drug and alcohol dependency (in some exceptional circumstances to have no job searches)
  • substantially elevated level of family and caring responsibilities, where this is likely to impede job search
  • accommodation situation where this is likely to impede job search
  • education or skill level where this is likely to substantially limit job opportunities
  • current employment status (part-time or casual work)
  • domestic violence (including family violence)
  • family relationship breakdown
  • low level of English language skills, where the job seeker is undertaking a course to improve these skills
  • cultural factors
  • the state of the labour market and the transport options available to the person in accessing that market (e.g. taking into account travel time).

Note: Employment services providers should not reduce the number of job searches a job seeker is required to undertake simply because the job seeker is undertaking other activities (e.g. during the annual activity requirement (3.11.4) phase for those in jobactive).

Example: A Stream A job seeker either living in a metropolitan area or within 90 minutes travel time to a metropolitan area would typically be expected to have 20 job searches per month. Whereas, in a regional area with limited vacancies and where the travel time to stronger labour market is more than 90 minutes, it might be appropriate that a Stream A job seeker has a lower job search requirement, e.g. 15 job searches per month.

The number of job searches required by a job seeker should be reviewed when they:

  • move to a different labour market
  • have their chances of finding work affected
  • experience major changes in their personal circumstances
  • undertake work.

For jobactive job seekers in Stream C & job seekers aged 60 years or over

In setting an appropriate number of job searches for this cohort of job seekers, in addition to the considerations outlined above, employment services providers may also give consideration to the extent to which:

  • other non-vocational or vocational issues are being or have been addressed
  • if the job seeker has undertaken re-skilling or re-training.

The number of job searches required is expected to increase over time as they overcome or sufficiently manage personal or non-vocational issues.

Job seekers with full-time mutual obligation requirements undertaking paid work

If a job seeker with full-time mutual obligation requirements is undertaking at least 40 hours of declared paid work (including self-employment) per fortnight, the number of job searches should be halved. If the job seeker is undertaking a significant number of hours of paid employment per week (i.e. well above this threshold) and receiving only a residual amount of income support, employment services providers are able to reduce the number of job search further.

If a job seeker with full-time mutual obligation requirements is undertaking at least 70 hours of declared paid work (including self-employment) per fortnight, the number of job searches should be nil. However, those undertaking 35 hours per week of paid work are ineligible for YA.

For any hours of employment to count towards reducing a job seeker's job search or other requirements, that employment must be legitimate and must be for an appropriate level of remuneration. This means that the hours worked must meet the remuneration test outlined in the sufficient work test (1.1.S.403). This is to ensure that a job seeker cannot avoid their job search or other requirements, without affecting their rate of payment, by declaring that they have worked for a number of hours for little pay.

If casual employment has only lasted a few days, the job seeker will still be expected to undertake their usual number of job searches, as the ability to seek work over the course of a month would not have been substantially affected by this work.

Job seekers fully meeting their requirements

If a job seeker is fully meeting their mutual obligation requirements as outlined in 3.11.6, then they are not required to undertake job search. If however, they are not fully meeting their mutual obligation requirements, then they are required to search for work to enable them to increase their total hours of participation in activities to fully meet their mutual obligation requirements, to at least 30 hours per fortnight.

If a principal carer parent, or a job seeker with a partial capacity to work, is undertaking 11-29 hours of declared paid work (including self-employment) per fortnight the number of job searches should be halved.

Example: Cora is a principal carer parent on JSP with 1 child. Cora works 22 hours a fortnight as a cashier at a petrol station in her local area. Part-time work is a suitable activity but Cora is not undertaking enough hours to satisfy her mutual obligation requirements in full. Taking this part-time work into account, Cora remains registered with her employment services provider and is set a requirement of 10 job searches a fortnight in order to find a further 8 hours of work a fortnight.

Example: Louise is on JSP and has been assessed as having a partial capacity to work. Louise was fully meeting her mutual obligation requirements as she had been working 30 hours per fortnight at a local pet store. The pet store reduces her hours to 20 hours a fortnight and these hours are expected to last for the next few months. Louise's Job Plan is updated and she is now set 6 job searches per month (as Louise does not have access to a strong labour market within 60 minutes travel time from her home her job search can be reduced) so that she can find a further 10 hours of work a fortnight.

Principal carer parent - Christmas & New Year period

A principal carer parent is not required to undertake job search (or meet any other mutual obligation requirements) during the fortnight that the Christmas public holiday falls. However, they are still required to lodge their statement (1.1.S.350) to Services Australia for this period in order to report any earnings to stimulate their payment.

Early school leavers

Early school leavers who are meeting their mutual obligation requirements through full-time education or a combination of part-time study and part-time work of 25 hours per week (15 hours of those with part-time mutual obligation requirements) must not have any job search requirements in their Job Plan.

NEIS

Job search requirements are not required for job seekers undertaking NEIS training or the NEIS program.

Reduced job search requirements for job seekers participating in a Language, Literacy & Numeracy (LLN) course

For job seekers whose employment services providers have identified a need to significantly improve their LLN skills, the number of job searches per month can be reduced during the period the job seeker is actively participating in an accredited LLN course designed to improve these skills.

Act reference: SSAct section 601 Activity test (JSP), section 541 Activity test (YA), section 500A Participation requirements (PP), section 731A Activity test (SpB), section 607(2) Jobseeker Employment Pathway Plans-principal carers, section 544C(2) YA Employment Pathway Plans-principal carers, section 603AB Relief from activity test-certain principal carer parents and people with partial capacity to work (JSP), section 541(1B) Certain principal carers and people with partial capacity to work (YA), section 544DA YA Employment Pathway Plans-early school leavers

Last reviewed: 20 March 2020