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. Self-employment (including through Workforce Australia - Self-Employment Assistance)


The conditions for satisfying the sufficient work test also apply to self-employment ( Self-employment will satisfy the sufficient work test if the job seeker is working at least their required number of hours and the taxable income of the business provides the equivalent of the national minimum wage rate for the minimum required hours. If self-employment does not satisfy the sufficient work test, the person will generally be required to look for alternative work and/or undertake additional requirements to meet their mutual obligation requirements. If their commitment to their business activities interferes with required job search or other activities, the person will usually not be considered to be unemployed under social security law and will not satisfy their mutual obligation requirements.

Principal carer parents, those with an assessed partial capacity to work, and job seekers aged 55 and over are able to fully meet their mutual obligation requirements (3.11.6) if they undertake at least 30 hours per fortnight of self-employment, where the income earned from self-employment is equivalent to or above 30 hours work at the minimum wage.

Self-Employment Assistance

Self-Employment Assistance assists eligible people to start and run viable small businesses. To be eligible for Self-Employment Assistance, a person must:

  • be at least 15 years of age
  • not already be working and/or studying for more than 25 hours per week
  • not be an undischarged bankrupt
  • be
    • an Australian citizen, or
    • the holder of a permanent visa or a nominated visa holder (including of a New Zealand SCV, temporary protection visa and a safe haven visa).

Those participating in Small Business Coaching and/or the first 8 weeks of Small Business Training are not required to look for work.

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