Penalties for not meeting your Mutual Obligation Requirements

If you do not meet your Mutual Obligation Requirements, your income support payment may be affected.

Penalties and failures

You must meet all of your Mutual Obligation Requirements to keep getting your income support payment. If you do not meet all of your requirements, you may incur a failure and there may be consequences that will affect your income support payment.

You may incur a failure if you:

  • leave a job without a valid reason
  • do not attend an appointment, and do not have a valid reason for not attending
  • do not contact your Employment Services Provider beforehand to provide a good reason for why you cannot make the appointment
  • do not enter into and comply with a Job Plan when asked to do so
  • do not meet your job search requirements
  • repeatedly do not meet your Mutual Obligation Requirements

Incurring a failure means you could lose some or all of your income support payment and will not be entitled to back pay.

If you repeatedly do not turn up to your appointments or activities, you may incur a serious failure. We will always speak with you before applying a failure.

Missed appointments

Your income support payment may stop if you miss an appointment with your provider without giving a good reason beforehand. It will restart when you attend a new appointment with your provider, where required. You may not be entitled to full back pay when this occurs.

It’s important to go to all appointments with your provider. If you cannot make it, you must tell your provider before the appointment.

Non-attendance failure

You may also incur a non-attendance failure if you:

  • miss an appointment with your provider
  • do not contact your provider before your appointment to explain why you are unable to attend, even if you have a good reason why you cannot attend

If you incur a non-attendance failure, you will lose some of your income support payment.

Connection failure

You may incur a connection failure if you do not:

  • enter into a Job Plan when asked to do so
  • attend a compulsory appointment with us or an organisation other than your provider
  • contact us or your provider before your appointment if you have a good reason why you cannot attend
  • meet your job search requirements

Connection failures do not result in a financial penalty. We will talk with you about what you need to do so you do not incur a reconnection failure which can result in a financial penalty. If you repeatedly do not meet your requirements you may incur a serious failure.

Reconnection failure

If you miss an appointment for any reason, we or your provider will usually arrange a new appointment for you. If you do not attend the new appointment, you may incur a reconnection failure and your income support payment will stop.

You may incur a reconnection failure if you:

  • do not have a valid reason for not attending the appointment
  • did not make contact beforehand to advise why you could not attend
  • do not enter into a Job Plan if asked to do so at this appointment

If you incur a reconnection failure, you may lose some or all of your income support payment until you meet your requirements.

You may also incur a reconnection failure if you do not meet further job search requirements given to you as a result of a connection failure.

If we ask you to you may need to get an employer you approach for paid work in response to an advertised job vacancy to complete an Employer Contact Certificates Newstart/Youth Allowance form.

No Show, No Pay failure

If you do not let your provider know that you cannot attend a job interview or activity, you may incur a No Show, No Pay failure. This means you could lose a day’s income support for each day that you:

  • do not satisfactorily participate in a compulsory activity or program in your Job Plan, such as training or Work for the Dole, without a valid reason
  • do not attend a job interview without a valid reason
  • attend a job interview but deliberately act in a way that results in a job offer not being made

Comprehensive Compliance Assessments

If you are unable to meet your requirements, or are repeatedly not showing up to activities and appointments, you will be referred for a Comprehensive Compliance Assessment. You can also be referred for an assessment at any time by us or your provider if there are concerns about your ability to meet your Mutual Obligation Requirements.

A Comprehensive Compliance Assessment is the way we find out why you are not meeting your Mutual Obligation Requirements.

Read more about Comprehensive Compliance Assessments.

Serious failures

If you repeatedly do not turn up to your appointments or activities, you may be asked to attend a Comprehensive Compliance Assessment and you may incur a serious failure. You may also incur a serious failure if you do not accept an offer of suitable work or start work you have accepted as planned. The penalty for a serious failure is an 8 week non-payment period.

During the 8 week non-payment period, your income support payment may be reinstated if you agree to do a Compliance Activity. If you have full time Mutual Obligation Requirements, this will generally be 25 hours a week of full time Work for the Dole for 8 weeks. It may be other similar activities if appropriate. If you incur a serious failure and you would like to do a Compliance Activity, talk to us. We can arrange an appointment with your provider to negotiate an appropriate activity.

Unemployment Non-payment Period

If you become unemployed voluntarily without a good reason or are dismissed from your job because of misconduct, you may need to wait 8 weeks before you receive an income support payment. You may need to wait 12 weeks before being paid if you received relocation assistance through your Employment Services Provider.

An Unemployment Non-payment Period will not affect family assistance payments.

You cannot reduce an Unemployment Non-payment Period by participating in a Compliance Activity. However, we may waive the non-payment period if you meet the eligibility criteria and are in severe financial hardship.

Avoiding a failure

To avoid a failure you need to meet your Mutual Obligation Requirements.

You must:

  • show you are actively looking for suitable paid work
  • accept suitable job offers
  • attend all job interviews
  • attend all appointments with us or your provider, and any other appointments arranged for you by your provider
  • agree to attend approved training courses or programs
  • not leave a job, training course or program without a valid reason
  • enter into and comply with a Job Plan if you are asked

It’s easy to avoid failures and financial penalties. The majority of job seekers attend their appointments and activities and contact their provider beforehand if they cannot make it. Signing up for SMS reminders or writing your appointment time down can help.

If you do incur a failure and do not agree with the decision, you can request a review of the decision.

Page last updated: 21 September 2016

This information was printed Saturday 10 December 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/penalties-not-meeting-your-mutual-obligation-requirements It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.