3.11.8 Mutual obligation requirements for principal carer parents

Mutual obligation requirements for principal carer parents

Job seekers classified under SSAct section 5 as a principal carer parent of a child must, unless exempted, satisfy mutual obligation requirements by complying with approved activities outlined in their Job Plan (1.1.J.25).

A principal carer parent will have part-time mutual obligation requirements once the youngest child in their care turns 6 years of age. However, compulsory ParentsNext participants will have participation requirements before the youngest child in their care turns 6 years of age (3.11.11).

A principal carer parent will be able to meet their part-time mutual obligation requirements in a range of ways, including through:

  • fully meeting their requirements (3.11.6)
  • NEIS training, on a full or part-time basis, or
  • undertaking job search and/or other suitable activities in accordance with the requirements outlined in their Job Plan, as negotiated with their employment services provider.

For principal carer parent job seekers who newly have requirements, an interview with Services Australia will be held in advance of the commencement of mandatory part-time mutual obligation requirements, to discuss the change in requirements. The interview will be held within a 4 month period (spanning 2 months either side) of the youngest child turning 5 years and 9 months.

In exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to interview a principal carer parent within this period, the interview should be re/scheduled as close to this period as possible. In these instances, it is preferable that the date of the interview be brought forward rather than delayed.

Unless otherwise requested or agreed to by the principal carer parent, activities in their Job Plan should be scheduled to occur during school hours (i.e. generally between 9am and 3pm during school terms).

An activity should not be included in a principal carer parent's Job Plan if it would involve travel of more than 60 minutes each way by the transport mode normally available to the person.

Act reference: SSAct section 5 Family relationships definitions-children, section 501A PP Employment Pathway Plan-terms, section 541(1AA) Persons who comply with Employment Pathway Plan (YA), section 601(4A) Activity test (JSP), section 731GA Relief from activity test-certain principal carers and people with partial capacity to work (SpB)

Break for principal carer parents - Christmas & New Year period

Principal carer parents are not required to meet any requirements during the fortnight that the Christmas Day 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 and stimulate their payment.

Break for principal carer parents - employer initiated shut down period over the long school holiday break

When a principal carer parent is fully meeting their mutual obligation requirements by working (including instances when working is 1 of a combination of activities) and the person's employer initiates a shutdown period over the long school holiday Christmas break, the principal carer parent is considered to be meeting their requirements as long as they reasonably expect to resume their employment when their employer resumes in the New Year. The employer initiated shut down period break can only be taken while the place of employment has shut down, up to a maximum of 8 weeks. After 8 weeks the principal carer parent will be required to participate in additional activities to meet mutual obligation requirements.

Act reference: SSAct section 501A PP Employment Pathway Plan, section 501C PP Employment Pathway Plans-people with partial capacity to work, section 541(1AA) Persons who comply with Employment Pathway Plan (YA), section 601(4A) Activity test (JSP), section 606 Jobseeker Employment Pathway Plans-terms, section 607 Jobseeker Employment Pathway Plans-principal carer parents, section 607A Jobseeker Employment Pathway Plans-people with partial capacity to work, section 731M SpB Employment Pathway Plans-terms, section 731N SpB Employment Pathway Plans-principal carers, section 731P SpB Employment Pathway Plans-people with partial capacity to work

Last reviewed: 20 March 2020