What Is a Job Plan?


A Job Plan is an 'employment pathway plan' for the purposes of social security law. The Job Plan underpins the provision of services to a job seeker.

For job seeker's with mutual obligation requirements the Job Plan will record all the items that the job seeker must undertake to satisfy those requirements under social security law.

The Job Plan must take into account the job seeker's individual circumstances, in particular their assessed work capacity (where relevant), their capacity to comply with requirements and their personal needs.

All job seekers without an exemption from their mutual obligation requirements (3.2.11) will need to have a Job Plan created when they claim payment. A person is not qualified for payment if they are not prepared to enter into and comply with the compulsory terms of a Job Plan. Whenever a job seeker's circumstances change, they need to participate in a new activity or their mutual obligation requirements change, their Job Plan should be reviewed and updated as required.

A Job Plan must be in a form approved by the Secretary of the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. This is a legal requirement under social security law.

Employees of employment services providers and DHS are delegated certain powers under social security law by the Secretary of the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, including the power to require a job seeker to enter into a Job Plan and approve or update a job seeker's Job Plan.

Contents of a Job Plan

The Job Plan records items for the job seeker to undertake or participate in such as, job search requirements, the requirement to attend provider appointments, the requirement to attend job interviews with prospective employers and to act on any referrals from employment services providers to specific job opportunities. It also can include, an annual activity requirement (where relevant), the requirement to participate in any other suitable activity that will enable a job seeker to improve their employment prospects and to satisfy their mutual obligation requirements under social security law. Most job seekers will need to undertake a range of approved activities in order to meet their mutual obligation requirements. This will depend on their circumstances, whether they have part-time or full-time mutual obligation requirements, their capacity to comply and whether they have an annual activity requirement.

Job seekers without mutual obligation requirements can undertake the same activities as job seekers with mutual obligation requirements, however these activities must be recorded as voluntary items in a Voluntary Job Plan and take into account the job seeker's circumstances.

Contents of the Job Plan should focus on achieving sustainable paid employment, including looking for a particular number of jobs each month. However, for early school leavers, the primary focus must be the undertaking of an approved course of education, training or other approved activities that on completion, will improve their employment prospects. The courses, training and activities should be vocationally orientated and designed to improve the job seeker's capacity and skills to enable them to secure and undertake suitable paid work.

All contents of a Job Plan must be determined within the parameters set out in the relevant provisions of social security law. A Job Plan must meet the needs of an individual job seeker and not place unreasonable demands on the job seeker, having regard to the job seeker's individual circumstances. Care should be taken when determining the contents of a Job Plan for job seekers with part-time or reduced mutual obligation requirements, for example due to health issues or family/caring responsibilities, to ensure that the job seeker not only has the capacity to meet the individual item (activity), but the sum total of the contents of the Job Plan.

Job seekers are encouraged and should consult with their employment services providers to identify appropriate activities they are interested in, or may prefer to undertake, to meet their mutual obligation requirements. While employment services providers will take these things into account, wherever possible, employment services providers (as delegates of the Secretary of the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business) have the final decision on what should be included in a job seeker's Job Plan.

Once the Job Plan is approved, a job seeker who fails to meet a compulsory item, or multiple compulsory items in their Job Plan, may be subject to action under the job seeker compliance framework.

Failure to enter into a Job Plan

If the job seeker refuses to enter into a Job Plan without good reason, the employment services provider will report this to DHS. The job seeker will be required to attend a further appointment to enter into a Job Plan. If the job seeker then attends but fails to enter into the Job Plan without good reason their payment may be cancelled by DHS until they do enter into a Job Plan.

Types of items that can be included in a Job Plan

Each item specified in a Job Plan must be:

  • quantifiable and specific,
  • measurable (i.e. it is clear when an item has been completed or not).

Example: A delegate may consider any of the following items for inclusion in a Job Plan:

  • the requirement to attend provider appointments,
  • job search requirements, generally 20 per month,
  • an annual activity requirement (for job seekers participating in jobactive or the CDP),
  • the requirement to act on referrals to specific job opportunities which may be given by the employment services provider,
  • the requirement to undertake part-time work,
  • the requirement to participate in any of the following activities:
    • Work for the Dole,
    • National Work Experience Programme,
    • voluntary work,
    • activities designed to develop job search and job interview skills or soft skills needed in the workplace,
    • Skills for Education and Employment Program,
    • Adult Migrant English Program,
    • Defence Force Reserves,
    • participation in a non-vocational (e.g. rehabilitation) programme,
    • a course of education or training,
    • other activities designed to eliminate or reduce any disadvantage the person has in the labour market.

Note: There are particular rules relating to different categories of job seekers and the types of activities that they must, or are able to, participate in to meet their mutual obligation requirements. These are detailed in 1.1.M.160, and

When Job Plan provisions do not apply

A Job Plan is not required to be entered into, or complied with, when a job seeker has an exemption from their mutual obligation requirements (3.2.11).

Act reference: SSAct section 593 Qualification for NSA, section 606 Newstart Employment pathway plans-terms, section 607 Newstart Employment pathway plans-principal carers, section 607A Newstart Employment pathway plans-people with partial capacity to work, section 607B Newstart Employment pathway plans-requirement to participate in an approved program of work, section 603 Relief from activity test-general (NSA), section 540 Qualification for YA-general rule, section 544B YA Employment Pathway Plans-terms, section 544DA YA Employment Pathway Plans-early school leavers, section 544E YA Employment Pathway Plans-suspension of plans for people with certain exemptions, section 501A PP Employment Pathway Plan-terms

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.11 Mutual obligation requirements for NSA/YA - exemptions, What Should Not be Included in a Job Plan, What can be included in a Job Plan, Unsuitable Work, 3.2.9 Mutual Obligation Requirements for NSA/YA Job Seekers - Suitable Activities

Last reviewed: 9 November 2015