Explainer - changes to mutual obligation and face-to-face servicing

Changes to mutual obligations and face to face servicing

This story was first published on Tuesday 2 March 2021. If you wish to use this content, please contact media@dewr.gov.au to confirm that the information is still current.

Australia continues to bounce back from the economic challenges of COVID-19. Job advertisements are rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, creating more job opportunities for those looking for work. 

The Australian Government is providing increasing support for job seekers, employers and providers hit by COVID-19.

To give job seekers the best opportunity to secure employment, and with a low number of COVID-19 cases across the country and the commencement of the vaccination roll out, the Government has announced changes to mutual obligation requirements to encourage more job seekers into employment and training.

Compulsory face-to-face services with jobactive providers are also returning. 
The changes were announced on 23 February 2021 to mutual obligation requirements for job seekers in jobactive, Disability Employment Services and ParentsNext.

Further changes will come into effect at later dates and will affect how job seekers and ParentsNext participants receive services.

Please note these changes do not take immediate effect.

  • From early March 2021, job seekers in jobactive and ParentsNext participants will recommence face-to-face servicing with their employment service providers. This is subject to local health advice and state and territory COVID-19 requirements.
  • From early April 2021, the minimum number of job searches for most job seekers will rise to 15, increasing to 20 job searches per month from early July 2021. This applies to job seekers in jobactive, Disability Employment Services and participants in Online Employment Services and the New Employment Services Trial.    

These changes are in response to data that shows our economy is bouncing back, with job advertisements now exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels in all states and territories except NSW and VIC. 

An employer reporting phone line is being introduced in early April so employers can report job seekers who are submitting questionable job applications or decline the offer of a job. While we know that most job seekers do the right thing, this initiative will help identify job seekers who are not genuine.

There will also be an increase in the auditing of job applications to spot people who are submitting non-genuine or deliberately poor-quality applications in order to meet job search targets. The increase in auditing applies to job seeker participants in jobactive, Online Employment Services, New Employment Services Trial and Disability Employment Services.

Payment penalties may apply under the Targeted Compliance Framework (TCF).

More Information 

  • Job seekers are encouraged to contact their employment service provider for further information about current requirements. Or visit jobactive to find out more.
  • Information for Employers.
  • Information for Providers.

Correct at time of publication.