Not meeting mutual obligation requirements

Not meeting your mutual obligation requirements as a job seeker can affect your Centrelink payment.

Penalties and failures

You must meet your mutual obligation requirements.

If you don’t, your payment may stop and you may get a failure and lose some or all of your payment. The type of failure depends on the type of non-compliance.

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

Non-attendance failure

If you don't go to appointments with your employment services provider, your payment may stop. You may also get a non-attendance failure.

If there’s a good reason you can’t go to your appointment, you must contact your provider beforehand to explain why.

Your payment will restart when you attend a new appointment with your provider, where needed. If you get a non-attendance failure, you may not be fully back paid.

Connection failure

You may get 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 or let your provider know before your appointment if you can’t attend - you must have a good reason for not attending
  • meet your job search requirements

Connection failures don’t have a financial penalty. We’ll give you a reconnection requirement. If you don’t meet this, you may get a penalty.

Reconnection failure

If you miss your appointment for any reason, you’ll need to contact your provider to book a new one. If you miss the new appointment too, your payment will stop.

You may get a reconnection failure if you don’t let your provider know beforehand that you can’t make your appointment. You must have a good reason for not attending.

You may also get a reconnection failure if you don’t enter into or change a Job Plan if asked to.

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

If you get a reconnection failure for not returning a satisfactory Job Seeker Diary you may need to complete Employer Contact Certificates.

No Show, No Pay failure

A No Show, No Pay failure means you lose a day’s payment for each day you don’t meet your requirements.

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

  • do compulsory activities or programs in your Job Plan, such as training or Work for the Dole
  • tell your provider if you can’t make it to activities before they start
  • have a good 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 or your provider will refer you for this assessment if you continue to miss activities and appointments. We may also refer you if we’re concerned about your ability to meet your requirements.

Read more about comprehensive compliance assessments.

Serious failures

If after your assessment we find you’ve been persistently non-compliant, you may get a serious failure.

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

A serious failure means we won’t pay you for 8 weeks.

During this time, your payment may start again if you agree to do a compliance activity. If you have full time mutual obligation requirements, your compliance activity will be:

  • 25 hours a week of Work for the Dole, or
  • other activities arranged with your provider

You need to tell us if you want to do a compliance activity. We can make an appointment for you with your provider to talk about it.

Unemployment non-payment period

If you choose to leave your job or lose your job because of misconduct, we may not pay you for:

  • 8 weeks, or
  • 12 weeks if you got relocation assistance from your provider

It won’t affect family assistance payments.

We may waive the non-payment period if you meet certain conditions and are in severe financial hardship.

Avoiding failures

To avoid failures:

  • agree to or change a Job Plan if asked
  • show you’re actively looking for suitable paid work
  • accept suitable job offers
  • attend job interviews
  • attend appointments and activities
  • don’t leave a job, training course or program without a good reason

Remember your appointment time and make sure you take part in compulsory activities. You can also get SMS reminders if we have your mobile phone number.

Reviews and appeals

If you get a failure and disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal.

Read more about reviews and appeals.

Page last updated: 30 May 2018