Who Do Mutual Obligation Requirements Apply to?


Mutual obligation requirements apply to all job seekers in receipt of:

  • newstart allowance,
  • youth allowance (other),
  • PPS (when their youngest child turns 6), and
  • SpB (NVHs).

Information about requirements for full-time students receiving:

Exception: Australian Apprentices in receipt of YA, Austudy or ABSTUDY are not required to satisfy requirements but must continue to satisfy the definition of a full-time Australian Apprentice (1.1.A.324).

Mutual obligation requirements for persons in receipt of SpB (NVH)

Mutual obligation requirements apply for those receiving SpB (NVH) who are capable of working, except for holders of CJSVs.

Exemptions from mutual obligation requirements

In some circumstances a job seeker may be granted an exemption (3.2.11) from their mutual obligation requirements. If an exemption is given the job seeker is not required to satisfy their requirements for a particular period of time. Some examples of people who may be given an exemption from their mutual obligation requirements are:

  • people with unexpected caring responsibilities,
  • people who are temporarily incapacitated,
  • pregnant job seekers in the latter stages of their pregnancy,
  • people who have a major personal crisis, or
  • cases of domestic violence.

Principal carer parents have access to a range of additional exemptions, which include, but are not limited to:

  • caring for a child with a disability,
  • foster caring,
  • kinship care,
  • recognised home schooling,
  • distance education, and
  • when they are caring for large families.

Note: A non-principal carer who is, a registered and active foster carer, providing foster care to a child temporarily in an emergency or to give respite to another person from caring for the child will also be granted an exemption for special family circumstances.

When considering an exemption, consideration should be given to the person's capacity. In some circumstances, setting mutual obligation requirements that take into account specific needs, such as family and caring responsibilities, and the person's health, will be more appropriate than a complete exemption from the person's mutual obligation requirements.

Act reference: SSAct section 16B Partial capacity to work, section 601 Activity test, section 541 Activity test, section 540AA Qualification for YA-new apprentices, section 568AA Qualification for Austudy-new apprentices, section 500A Participation requirements, section 731A Activity test, section 569 Activity test

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.P.65 Partial capacity to work (NSA, YA (job seeker), PP & SpB (NVH)), 3.2.7 YA Activity Testing for Students, Mutual Obligation Requirements for NSA/YA job Seekers Overview, Suitable activity - study & training, 3.2.11 Mutual obligation requirements for NSA/YA - exemptions, Qualification for Austudy, 3.3.4 Satisfying the Activity Test for Austudy, When is a Job Plan required? (PP), Who do the SpB mutual obligation requirements apply to?

Last reviewed: 1 July 2016