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. General provisions for YA exemptions for under 18s


Young people under the age of 18 years, who have NOT completed year 12 or an equivalent qualification, will be required to participate in full-time study or have a Job Plan (1.1.J.25) involving education, training or other approved activities to meet the minimum qualification for YA.

Under 18 year olds who have completed the final year of secondary school or an equivalent qualification are not subject to this provision.

YA (Australian Apprentice) are not subject to this provision as they are already engaged in training.

Early school leavers

For an early school leaver (1.1.E.05) to meet the activity test or the terms of a Job Plan, requirements must include approved activities, for at least the required number of hours (usually 25 hours per week).

Rules about exemptions

Exemptions from the full-time education or training requirement to qualify for YA are made where it would be unreasonable to expect the young person to undertake those full-time studies.

A study exemption does not necessarily exempt the young person from having to meet other requirements, such as requirements in their Job Plan, if they have one in place (1.1.M.160). The impact on a recipient's requirements is explained under each exemption topic.

All exemptions:

  • are subject to review at the end of the period to determine whether the circumstances for exemption still exist, or a subsequent event warrants another exemption, AND
  • may be extended in exceptional circumstances.

If the exemption is not extended, the young person should be required to return to full-time education/training.

There are many categories of exemption available. If a young person fits more than one category, the delegate must determine which category takes precedence to determine the duration of the exemption.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1) Dictionary, section 543A(2) Minimum age for YA, section 540 Qualification for YA - general rule

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.M.160 Mutual obligation requirements, 3.11.9 Mutual obligation requirements for early school leavers

Last reviewed: