The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

1.1.E.104 Employment services assessment (ESAt)


ESAts are for the purpose of identifying an individual's:

  • barriers to finding and maintaining employment (this may relate to the impact of a person's disability, injury, illness, or other disadvantage)
  • work capacity (in hour bandwidths), and
  • interventions/assistance that may be of benefit to improve their current work capacity.

ESAts are conducted by health and allied health professionals. As part of the assessment process, assessors have access to relevant available information about the job seeker, including current and past medical/disability status, and prior participation and employment history. Assessors can also liaise with treating doctors and relevant health professionals as required.

ESAts may be used by Services Australia to inform decisions regarding payments and allowances and to determine the level of participation required for job seekers with mutual obligation requirements in accordance with the SSAct.

The ESAt process ensures that disadvantaged job seekers are referred to the most appropriate employment service assistance, based on an assessment of the impact of identified barriers on their capacity to participate. A copy of the ESAt report is made available to the job seeker's employment services provider.

Target groups

People may be referred for an ESAt if:

  • they are in receipt of income support payments and applying for an exemption from mutual obligation requirements
  • other income support recipients who are eligible to volunteer
  • they register directly with an employment services provider
  • they inform Services Australia or their employment services provider of a significant change in their circumstances that affects their work capacity and/or employment assistance needs
  • the JSCI administered by Services Australia or an employment services provider, indicates they have barriers to work that require further assessment, and/or
  • they are a DSP recipient under age 35 with potential participation requirements who does not already have a current work capacity assessment. The assessment will establish work capacity bandwidths of 0-7 or 8+ hours per week and will not affect the recipient's eligibility for DSP.

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