What can be included in a Job Plan


The Job Plan must outline the items that will satisfy the job seeker's mutual obligation requirements and help the job seeker gain suitable paid employment (or in the case of an early school leaver, completing the final year of secondary school, or an equivalent level of education (Certificate Level III or above) as a first step).

In setting the terms of a job seeker's Job Plan, the delegate must consider:

  • the job seeker's individual circumstances, in particular their assessed work capacity (where relevant), their capacity to comply with requirements and their personal needs
  • the person's education, experience, skills, age
  • the impact of any disability, illness mental condition or physical condition of the person on the person's ability to work, to look for work or to participate in activities
  • the state of the available labour market and the transport options available to the person in accessing the market
  • the participation opportunities available to the person
  • the family and caring responsibilities of the person (including availability of child care)
  • the length of travel time required to comply with the requirements (90 minutes each way or 60 minutes if the job seeker is a principal carer parent or has a partial capacity to work)
  • the financial costs (such as travel) of complying with the requirements and the person's capacity to pay for such costs
  • cultural factors
  • if the job seeker has any vulnerability indicators (as identified by DHS) such as homelessness, psychiatric problems or mental illness, severe drug or alcohol dependency, traumatic relationship breakdown, etc.
  • any history of the job seeker not complying with their requirements
  • the person's accommodation situation
  • the availability of places in appropriateness of education or training (where relevant), and
  • any other relevant circumstances that may affect a person's ability to participate and comply (including, if they disclose that they are a victim of family violence).

A person must be capable of complying with any item/s included in a Job Plan. If a person is not capable of undertaking any mutual obligation requirements (or a combination of requirements) then that requirement (or combination of requirements) cannot be included in their Job Plan. For information on what should not be included in a Job Plan refer to

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.

Determining suitable activities for YA early school leavers (1.1.E.05)

Early school leavers must participate in approved activities for the required number of hours ( until they either turn 22 years of age or have completed the final year of secondary school or an equivalent level of education (Certificate Level III under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) or above). Where these approved activities do not include any approved study, their Job Plan should also include a compulsory requirement for up to 20 job searches each month, in addition to 25 hours per week of approved activities.

Approved study for an early school leaver is a course that is:

  • determined under the Student Assistance Act 1973 section 5D as a secondary or tertiary course, and
  • in the Secretary's opinion would assist or allow the young person to complete the final year of secondary school or an equivalent level of education.

A Job Plan for an early school leaver should contain either:

  • participation in approved full-time study, or
  • a combination of part-time study and part-time work, or
  • other approved activities in addition to up to 20 job searches each month

for the required number of hours that the Secretary (or delegate) considers suitable.

The Job Plan should ensure the early school leaver is undertaking activities for at least the appropriate number of hours per week that the Secretary considers suitable for the person (normally 25 hours a week for those with full time mutual obligation requirements, or 15 hours a week for early school leavers with a partial capacity to work or who are principal carer parents and have part-time requirements).

Determining suitable items (activities) for principal carer & partial capacity job seekers

Specific rules apply for determining suitable items for inclusion in a Job Plan for job seekers who are classified under SSAct section 16B as having a partial capacity to work because of a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment or under SSAct section 5 as a principal carer of a child.

Act reference: SSAct section 5 Family relationships definitions-children, section 16 Partial capacity to work

Principal carer parent job seekers

Unless otherwise requested or agreed to by the principal carer, 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.

While an early school leaver who is also a principal carer parent, and is meeting their mutual obligation requirements through 30 hours a fortnight of any combination of approved study or paid employment, they cannot be required to undertake additional education and training or job search in their Job Plan.

Job seekers assessed with a partial capacity to work

For job seekers assessed as having a partial capacity to work, the items recommended by the ESAt/JCA will be the most suitable for inclusion in their Job Plan. However, job seekers can still suggest items (activities) that they would like to have included.

Note: Job seekers with a partial capacity to work of 0-7 or 8-14 hours per week are not required to look for work and are required only to attend a quarterly interview with DHS. They can volunteer to accept a referral to a suitable program of assistance.

Example 1: A person in a wheelchair cannot have an activity included in their Job Plan if the activity is held in a venue which does not have wheelchair accessible toilets, or if the venue itself is not wheelchair accessible.

Example 2: Polly has an anxiety disorder. The disorder is managed with medication, however, the medication causes fatigue and drowsiness, particularly in the mornings. An activity which requires Polly to start early in the morning would not typically be suitable to be included in her Job Plan.

Example 3: Bob's sister comes around at 10am each morning to help him shower. An activity requires Bob to attend at 9am, 3 times a week. In order to attend at 9am, Bob would need to pay for a private carer to come and help him shower, as his sister is unable to come any earlier. This activity would not be suitable to be included in Bob's Job Plan as the cost of the private carer 3 times a week would be unreasonable.

Act reference: SSAct 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 544B Youth Allowance Employment Pathway Plans-terms, section 603AA Relief from activity test-people 55 and over who are engaged in work, section 544C YA Employment Pathway Plans-principal carers, section 544DA YA Employment Pathway Plans-early school leavers

Work for the Dole

A Job Plan must not include participation in WFD (or other approved programs of work) as a compulsory item for job seekers receiving less than the full rate of income support, where the rate is reduced due to the income test. (Note: A reduced rate can result from the job seeker's own income and/or their partner's income.) This can be included as a voluntary item.

Participation in WFD must also not be included in the Job Plan as either a compulsory or a voluntary item for job seekers under the age of 18.

Act reference: SSAct section 607B Newstart Employment Pathway Plans-requirement to participate in an approved program of work, section 544B(7) YA Employment Pathway Plans - terms

Policy reference: SS Guide Mutual Obligation Requirements for NSA/YA Job Seekers Overview, Mutual obligation requirements for NSA/YA job seekers - suitable activities - overview, Job search - overview, Suitable activity - study & training, Suitable Activity - Voluntary Work, Suitable Activity - Job Search (PP Recipients & Principal Carers), Suitable activity - study (PP), Other suitable activities (PP recipients & principal carers), 1.1.P.418 Principal carer - study, Qualification for PES, 3.2.11 Mutual obligation requirements for NSA/YA - exemptions, Unsuitable Work, What Should Not be Included in a Job Plan

Last reviewed: 2 January 2020