General provisions for YA exemptions for under 18s


Young people under the age of 18 years, who have NOT completed year 12 or an equivalent qualification, will be required to participate in full-time study or have a Job Plan involving education, training or other approved activities to meet the minimum qualification for YA.

Under 18 year olds who have completed the final year of secondary school or an equivalent qualification are not subject to this provision.

YA (Australian Apprentice) are not subject to this provision as they are already engaged in training.

Early school leavers

To meet the activity test a Job Plan for an early school leaver (1.1.E.05) must include approved activities, for at least the required number of hours (usually 25 hours per week).

Rules about exemptions

Exemptions from the full-time education or training requirement to qualify for YA are made where it would be unreasonable to expect the young person to undertake those full-time studies.

A study exemption does not necessarily exempt the young person from the activity test (1.1.M.160) requirements. The impact on activity testing is explained under each exemption topic.

All exemptions:

  • are subject to review at the end of the period to determine whether the circumstances for exemption still exist, or a subsequent event warrants another exemption, AND
  • may be extended in exceptional circumstances.

If the exemption is not extended, the young person should be required to return to full-time education/training.

There are many categories of exemption available. If a young person fits more than one category, the delegate must determine which category takes precedence to determine the duration of the exemption.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1) Dictionary, section 543A(2) Minimum age for YA, section 544DA YA Employment Pathway Plans-early school leavers

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.M.160 Mutual obligation requirements, 3.11.9 Mutual obligation requirements for early school leavers

Last reviewed: 12 August 2019