3.11.3 Suitable activities


In order to satisfy their mutual obligation requirements, job seekers generally must be actively seeking and willing to undertake any paid work that is not unsuitable ( Job search also typically is combined with other suitable activities, with a job seeker's requirements set out in their Job Plan. This topic describes activities that are suitable activities for the purposes of satisfying mutual obligation requirements.

The delegate must consult with the job seeker and then set appropriate activities for the job seeker to meet their mutual obligation requirements. The extent and combination of activities will vary, depending on the requirements for different categories of job seekers. All items that are being used to satisfy a job seeker's mutual obligation requirements must be included in the job seeker's Job Plan.

Other than job search, suitable activities that a delegate may consider for inclusion in a Job Plan include:

  • acting on referrals to specific jobs made by their employment services provider and attend job interviews offered by employers
  • activities designed to develop job search and job interview skills or soft skills needed in the workforce (such as Employability Skills Training and Career Transition Assistance)
  • study
  • part-time work
  • voluntary work
  • Defence Force Reserves
  • other government programs
  • non-vocational programs and services
  • self-employment (including through NEIS)
  • quarterly interview
  • work experience programs, such as NWEP and work experience (other)
  • PaTH Internships
  • approved non-government programs
  • Work for the Dole
  • language, literacy, and numeracy activities, under the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program or the Adult Migrant English Program
  • participation in the Seasonal Work Incentives Trial (for further details refer to, and
  • items which address non-vocational issues.

For the CDP a delegate may also consider CDP WFD activities.

Newly arrived refugees with mutual obligation requirements will be referred to a suitable activity. However, where they would be serviced by a jobactive provider, newly arrived refugees are not required to be connected to a provider until 12 months after their arrival in Australia, and are Services Australia managed until then. However, newly arrived refugees can participate voluntarily in jobactive at any time prior to 12 months after arrival and can receive full jobactive services relative to their level of disadvantage.

Refugees who are eligible to be referred to Transition to Work, DES, CDP and ParentsNext will be referred to those services.

Suitable activities - full-time or part-time

Suitable activities can be undertaken at the request of the job seeker, with the delegate's agreement, or when the delegate believes that undertaking an activity is appropriate for the job seeker. Most job seekers will focus on job search, but will be required to undertake additional activities as determined to be appropriate by the delegate.

Note 1: If a job seeker is fully meeting their requirements (3.11.6), they cannot be compelled to undertake any other activities.

Note 2: For principal carer parents, activities and other requirements should be scheduled to occur during school hours (i.e. generally between 9am and 3pm during school terms), unless otherwise requested or agreed to by the principal carer parent.

Breaks in activities

Generally there is no need to adjust a job seeker's requirements if they have a break of less than or equal to 4 weeks that is outside their control. If the break is greater than 4 weeks then the job seeker is required to undertake other suitable activities for the period of the break. The Job Plan should be revised to include the adjusted requirements. However, separate rules apply to part-time paid employment for those fully meeting their requirements through paid work (principal carer parents, those with partial capacity to work, or aged 55 and over). Breaks or holidays in casual part-time work beyond the control of job seekers who are fully meeting their requirements results in their being required to undertake other suitable activities (job search, in particular) for any fortnight in which they are not fully meeting their requirements. Leave from permanent part-time work will not result in job seekers who are fully meeting their requirements having to undertake other activities as long as their basic rate of income support does not increase during the holiday (i.e. they receive the same level of employment income during the break).

If a person needs to take a break from an activity due to personal circumstances, then they must immediately notify Services Australia, their employment services provider or the digital services contact centre, who will then either revise or develop a new Job Plan that takes the job seeker's changed circumstances into account.

Example: A job seeker may have a reduced capacity due to a recurrent medical condition or unexpected child care responsibilities and is unable to make suitable alternative arrangements.

Intending students/employees

People who are enrolled in a course commencing in the future or who have employment commencing in the future are still required to look for work and/or undertake activities in the meantime.

The job seeker would generally be required to look for available work that would not affect their ability to start the job or course of study. The job seeker should be encouraged to seek temporary, part-time or casual work, even if only for a short period.

In this section

This section contains the following topics:
Last reviewed: 8 February 2021