3.11.1.10 Setting job search requirements

Setting monthly job search requirements

The number of jobs a person is required to search for each month is not specified in legislation. Appropriate job search requirements can depend on a person's individual circumstances, and if they are in Workforce Australia, whether they are undertaking other activities to become more job ready.

The number of job searches generally expected to be undertaken by job seekers (including principal carer parents and those with a partial capacity to work (15 to 29 hours per week)) is:

  • for job seekers in Workforce Australia - the number of job searches (and other activities) required to meet their points requirement (for more information on points requirements, see 3.11.4)
  • for job seekers in DES - dependent on their capacity
  • for job seekers in CDP - at the provider's discretion to determine based on the availability of jobs in the area, seasonal employment, transport and the job seeker's personal circumstances.

Reasons for a job seeker's job search requirements to be reduced (including as part of a points requirement)

As local labour market conditions and job seeker circumstances frequently change, specific rules on when to vary a job seeker's job search requirement are included in operational guidelines used by employment services providers and the digital services contact centre. The broad principles underpinning those guidelines are outlined here. Circumstances in which employment services providers or the digital services contact centre, as applicable, can reduce the number of job searches a job seeker is required to undertake include (but are not limited to):

  • physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment, where this reasonably impedes job search
  • treatment for drug and alcohol dependency (in some exceptional circumstances to have no job searches)
  • substantially elevated level of family and caring responsibilities, where this is likely to impede job search
  • accommodation situation where this is likely to impede job search
  • education or skill level where this is likely to substantially limit job opportunities
  • current employment status (part-time or casual work)
  • domestic violence (including family violence)
  • family relationship breakdown
  • low level of English language skills, where the job seeker is undertaking a course to improve these skills
  • cultural factors
  • the state of the labour market and the transport options available to the person in accessing that market (e.g. taking into account travel time).

Note: Delegates should not reduce the number of job searches a job seeker is required to undertake simply because the job seeker is undertaking other activities. However, for job seekers with a points requirement, participation in those activities may accrue points and reduce the number of job searches that they would otherwise be required to meet.

Example: Pancho, a Workforce Australia job seeker, is required to meet 100 points per month to satisfy his mutual obligation requirements. Pancho accrues 60 points per month by participating in approved study. This means he is only required to meet 40 points through other methods, including job search, for that month.

The number of job searches required by a job seeker should be reviewed when they:

  • move to a different labour market
  • have their chances of finding work affected
  • experience major changes in their personal circumstances
  • undertake work.

Job seekers with full-time mutual obligation requirements undertaking paid work

Unless they are a Workforce Australia job seeker, if a job seeker with full-time mutual obligation requirements is undertaking at least 40 hours of declared paid work (including self-employment) per fortnight, the number of job searches should be halved. If the job seeker is undertaking a significant number of hours of paid employment per week (i.e. well above this threshold) and receiving only a residual amount of income support, employment services providers and the digital services contact centre are able to reduce the number of job searches further. Job search requirements for Workforce Australia job seekers with full-time mutual obligation requirements who are undertaking paid work will depend on the amount of points they have remaining after the paid work they have participated in for that period have been taken into account (for more information on the points requirement, see 3.11.4).

If a job seeker with full-time mutual obligation requirements is undertaking at least 70 hours of declared paid work (including self-employment) per fortnight, the number of job searches should be nil. However, those undertaking 35 hours per week of paid work are ineligible for YA.

For any hours of employment to count towards reducing a job seeker's job search or other requirements, that employment must be legitimate and must be for an appropriate level of remuneration. This means that the hours worked must meet the remuneration test outlined in the sufficient work test (1.1.S.403). This is to ensure that a job seeker cannot avoid their job search or other requirements by declaring that they have worked for a number of hours for little pay without also affecting their rate of payment.

If casual employment has only lasted a few days, the job seeker will still be expected to undertake their usual number of job searches (or for Workforce Australia job seekers, meet however many points are remaining for them to meet for that period), as the ability to seek work over the course of a month would not have been substantially affected by this work.

Job seekers fully meeting their requirements

If a job seeker is fully meeting their mutual obligation requirements as outlined in 3.11.6, then they are not required to undertake job search. If, however, they are not fully meeting their mutual obligation requirements, then they are required to search for work to enable them to increase their total hours of participation in activities to fully meet their mutual obligation requirements, to at least 30 hours per fortnight.

Example: Louise is on JSP and has been assessed as having a partial capacity to work. Louise was fully meeting her mutual obligation requirements as she had been working 30 hours per fortnight at a local pet store. The pet store reduces her hours to 20 hours a fortnight and these hours are expected to last for the next few months. As Louise's fortnightly hours are under 30 hours per fortnight, she will need to commence job search, as she no longer is considered to be fully meeting her requirements.

Principal carer parent - Christmas & New Year period

A principal carer parent is not required to undertake job search (or meet any other mutual obligation requirements) during the fortnight on which the Christmas public holiday falls. However, they are still required to lodge their statement (1.1.S.350) to Services Australia for this period in order to report any earnings to stimulate their payment.

Early school leavers

Early school leavers who are meeting their mutual obligation requirements through full-time education or a combination of part-time study and part-time work of 25 hours per week (15 hours of those with part-time mutual obligation requirements) must not have any job search requirements in their Job Plan.

NEIS

Job search requirements are not required for job seekers participating in the NEIS including:

  • NEIS training under New Business Assistance with NEIS
  • NEIS assistance under New Business Assistance with NEIS
  • Small Business Training under the Workforce Australia - Self-Employment Assistance (1.1.W.70) program
  • Small Business Coaching under the Self-Employment Assistance.

Reduced job search requirements for job seekers participating in a Language, Literacy & Numeracy (LLN) course

For job seekers whose employment services providers have identified a need to significantly improve their LLN skills, the number of job searches per month can be reduced during the period the job seeker is actively participating in an accredited LLN course designed to improve these skills.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act Division 2A Subdivision A Entry into employment pathway plans, section 40R Persons engaged in work

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