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.R.80 Recent workforce experience (PA, WA, JSP - cessation of claims for WA exemption)

Note: PA and WA ceased on 1 January 2022. The following page is for historical purposes only as the information only relates to the period before 1 January 2022.


For the purposes of PA, WA and JSP (cessation of claims for WA mutual obligations exemption), recent workforce experience is defined as employment of 20 hours or more a week for a total of 13 weeks or more at any time during the 12 months immediately before the claim is lodged.

Examples: The following can be taken into account when assessing 'recent workforce experience':

  • certain employment type LMPs such as NEIS
  • when a person is engaged in activities over 20 hours per week that would normally attract a wage, salary or income, EVEN THOUGH they may not receive income (e.g. a person who is self-employed or a farmer, some types of voluntary work)
  • employment overseas
  • periods of leave, whether with or without pay, (i.e. annual leave, carers leave, long service leave, sick leave, maternity leave, personal leave, leave without pay and rostered days off). Note: Leave can only be taken when a person is employed. 'Paid out' leave on termination of employment would not be taken into account.

The following are NOT considered to be employment for the purposes of 'recent workforce experience':

  • voluntary work, where it is done purely for charitable purposes. However, charitable work done in order to gain vocational experience (for example, volunteer counselling work done by a social worker or psychology student) or work that is similar in nature to paid positions in other organisations, would count
  • training type LMPs such as WFD.

Act reference: SSAct section 408BA(3) … recent workforce experience is … (WA), section 771HA(1) Qualification for PA

Social Security Legislation Amendment (Streamlined Participation Requirements and Other Measures) Act 2022 Schedule 1 item 156(9) Women born on or before 1 July 1955

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.3.1 PA - qualification & payability, 3.4.3 WA - qualification & payability, Exemption for JSP claimants who would have previously qualified for WA

Last reviewed: