Release type: Joint Media Release


Gradual return of mutual obligations requirements


Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business
Senator the Hon Anne Ruston
Minister for Families and Social Services

As the economy recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, the Australian Government continues on the path of a gradual reintroduction of mutual obligation requirements for job seekers.

From 4 August 2020, job seekers are expected to participate in appointments with providers, agree to a Job Plan, undertake a job search, and attend activities if it is safe to do so. If a job seeker is unable to meet their requirements no payment suspensions or financial penalties will be applied.

However, the Government expects job seekers who are in receipt of an income support payment to be willing to accept any offer of suitable paid work.

From 4 August 2020, if a job seeker refuses an offer of suitable employment – without a valid reason – they may have their payment cancelled, and may need to wait for four weeks before they can reapply for income support.

The Government continues to encourage job seekers to engage with their employment service providers to ensure they are supported to access the full range of assistance available to them – including access to skills training, support for other work preparation activities and referral to jobs and relevant support services – including mental health services, if required. 

Special circumstances exemptions will also continue to be available from Services Australia for job seekers who require them. Sole traders and those who are self-employed will continue to be exempted from requirements to allow them to work to re-establish their business.

The Australian Government recognises this continues to be is a challenging time for those looking for work and our focus remains on getting people back into jobs and rebuilding our economy as quickly as possible.

If you have questions about your mutual obligations requirements, please visit: