Penalties for not meeting your Mutual Obligation Requirements

Your income support payment may be affected if you don’t meet your Mutual Obligation Requirements as a job seeker.

Penalties and failures

You must meet all your Mutual Obligation Requirements to keep getting your payment. If you don’t, you may incur a failure. This means you may lose some or all of your payment.

If you repeatedly don’t turn up to your appointments or activities, you’ll be referred for a Comprehensive Compliance Assessment which will help us understand why you can’t meet your requirements. You may also incur a Serious failure. The penalty for a Serious failure is an 8 week non-payment period.

We’ll always speak with you before applying a failure.

Non-attendance failure

It’s important to go to all appointments with your Employment Services Provider. If you don’t go, your payment may stop and you may also incur a non-attendance failure.

You must contact your provider before the appointment with a valid reason if you can’t go. Your payment will restart when you attend a new appointment with your provider, where required. If you have incurred a non-attendance failure, you may not be entitled to full back pay.

Connection failure

You may incur a Connection failure if you don’t:

  • enter into or change a Job Plan when asked
  • attend compulsory appointments with us or an organisation other than your provider without giving a good reason before the appointment
  • meet your job search requirements

Connection failures don’t have a financial penalty but you will be given a reconnection requirement and that may lead to a penalty. We’ll work with you so you know how to meet your reconnection requirement.

Reconnection failure

Reconnection failures have a financial penalty. If you miss an appointment for any reason, a new appointment can be made for you. If you miss the new appointment, your payment will stop and you may incur a Reconnection failure.

You may incur a Reconnection failure if you don’t:

  • have a valid reason for missing an appointment, or
  • let us or your provider know before the appointment time that you can’t make it, or
  • enter into or change a Job Plan if asked to do so

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

If you get a Connection failure for not meeting your job search requirements, you may also need to complete Employer Contact Certificates.

No Show, No Pay failure

A No Show, No Pay failure may result in financial penalty. You could lose a working day’s income support for each day you fail to meet your requirements.

You may incur a No Show, No Pay failure if you don’t:

  • attend and participate in compulsory activities or programs in your Job Plan, such as training or Work for the Dole
  • contact your provider to explain why you can’t make your Job Plan activities before your activity starts
  • have a valid reason for not going to a job interview, or
  • behave appropriately at a job interview.

Comprehensive Compliance Assessments

A Comprehensive Compliance Assessment is how we find out why you’re not meeting your requirements.

We’ll refer you for a Comprehensive Compliance Assessment if you’re unable to meet your requirements, or repeatedly miss activities and appointments. We, or your provider, can also refer you for an assessment if there are concerns about your ability to meet your Mutual Obligation Requirements.

Read more about Comprehensive Compliance Assessments.

Serious failures

If after your assessment you are found to have been persistently non-compliant, you may incur a Serious failure. The penalty for a Serious failure is an 8 week non-payment period. This means your payment will stop.

You may also incur a Serious failure if you don’t accept a job offer or don’t start work you’ve accepted.

During this period your payment may restart if you agree to do a Compliance Activity. If you have full time Mutual Obligation Requirements, your Compliance Activity will generally be 25 hours a week of full time Work for the Dole or other activities arranged with your provider.

Talk to us if you incur a Serious failure and you want to do a Compliance Activity. We’ll arrange an appointment for you to discuss appropriate activities with your provider.

Unemployment Non-payment Period

If you choose to leave your job or are dismissed from your job because of misconduct, you may have an 8 week non-payment period. The period can be 12 weeks if you got relocation assistance through your Employment Services Provider.

It won’t affect family assistance payments.

You can’t reduce the period by participating in a Compliance Activity.

We may waive it if you meet the eligibility criteria and you’re in severe financial hardship.

Avoiding failures and penalties

To avoid a failure you need to meet your requirements.

You must:

  • enter into and comply with a Job Plan, or change it, if asked
  • show you’re actively looking for suitable paid work
  • accept suitable job offers
  • attend all job interviews
  • attend all appointments and activities arranged by us or your provider, and
  • not leave a job, training course or program without a valid reason

It’s easy to avoid failures and financial penalties. Most job seekers attend their appointments and activities and contact their provider if they can’t make it. Make a note of your appointment time so you don’t forget and make sure we have your current mobile phone number to get SMS reminders.

If you incur a failure and don’t agree with the decision, you have the right to ask for a review of the decision.

Read more about reviews and appeals.

Page last updated: 12 January 2017

This information was printed Wednesday 29 March 2017 from It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at when using this material.