The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. TheĀ 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.

3.11.8 Mutual obligation requirements for principal carer parents

Mutual obligation requirements for principal carer parents

Job seekers classified under SSAct section 5 as a principal carer parent of a child must, unless exempted, satisfy mutual obligation requirements. They can do this by undertaking job search, participating in activities, and if applicable, attending appointments with their employment services provider.

If a principal carer parent is eligible and chooses to participate in ParentsNext, they can do so without risking any compliance action.

A principal carer parent will be able to meet their part-time mutual obligation requirements in a range of ways, including through:

  • fully meeting their requirements (3.11.6)
  • participation in certain components of Workforce Australia - Self-Employment Assistance, such as Small Business Coaching or the first 8 weeks of Small Business Training, on a full or part-time basis, or
  • undertaking job search and/or other suitable activities.

For principal carer parent job seekers who newly have requirements, an interview with Services Australia will be held in advance of the commencement of mandatory part-time mutual obligation requirements, to discuss the change in requirements. The interview will be held within a 4-month period (spanning 2 months either side) of the youngest child turning 5 years and 9 months.

In exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to interview a principal carer parent within this period, the interview should be re/scheduled as close to this period as possible. In these instances, it is preferable that the date of the interview be brought forward rather than delayed.

A principal carer parent should not be required to participate in an activity if it would involve travel of more than 60 minutes each way by the transport mode normally available to the person. Additionally, a principal carer parent should not be required to undertake an activity occurring outside school hours (that is, generally between 9 am and 3 pm during school terms), unless otherwise requested or agreed by them.

Act reference: SSAct section 5 Family relationships definitionsā€”children

SS(Admin)Act section 40F Employment pathway plan matters, section 40R Persons engaged in work

Break for principal carer parents - Christmas & New Year period

Principal carer parents are not required to meet any requirements for the fortnight during which the Christmas Day 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 and stimulate their payment.

Break for principal carer parents - employer initiated shut down period over the long school holiday break

When a principal carer parent is fully meeting their mutual obligation requirements by undertaking paid work (including instances when working is one of a combination of activities) and the person's employer initiates a shutdown period over the long school holiday Christmas break, the principal carer parent is considered to be meeting their requirements as long as they reasonably expect to resume their employment when their employer resumes in the New Year. The employer-initiated shut down period break can only be taken while the place of employment has shut down, up to a maximum of 8 weeks. After 8 weeks the principal carer parent will be required to participate in additional activities to meet mutual obligation requirements.

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