Your Rights

As a Newstart recipient, you have a number of rights that are designed to protect you from unfair decisions. However, in many cases Centrelink and Employment Service Providers take advantage of the fact that many Newstart recipients do not know these rights.

Click here for a PDF copy of our Unemployed Workers’ Rights Guide.

This is why it is so important for unemployed Australians to understand all their rights when dealing with these privately run employment agencies.

The Australian Unemployment Union has looked over all the Jobactive guidelines and established a complete guide to your rights below. For a full list of all job active guidelines, click here. If your Employment Service Provider does not respect your rights, call the Department of Employment on 1800 805 260 to formally report them.


Part One: Your Rights at Employment Service Providers

Employment Service Provider Service Commitments

1.1   Employment Service Provider Service Guarantees
1.2  Employment Services Code of Practise

Your Right to a Fair Job Plan

1.3  Your Right to Carefully Consider your Job Plan
1.3.1  Negotiating a Fair Job Plan
1.3.2  Updating your Job Plan due to Changing Circumstances
1.3.3  Ensuring your Limited Work Capacity is Recognised
1.3.4  What must not be Including in your Job Plan

Your Right to Negotiate Suitable Mutual Obligation Requirements

1.4  Different Mutual Obligation Groups
1.4.1  Your Right to a Partial Capacity to Work Consideration
1.4.2  Your Right to a Temporary Reduced Work Capacity Consideration
1.4.3  Your Right to a Principal Carer Parent Consideration
1.4.4  You rRights Regarding Unforeseen Breaks in Activities
1.4.5  Your Right to Choose your Own Approved Activity
1.4.6  Your Right to be Exempt from Work for the Dole

Your Right to Change Employment Service Providers

1.5  Changing Providers Due to Change of Address
1.5.1  Changing Providers by Agreement
1.5.2  Changing Providers Due to Relationship Failure
1.5.3  Changing Providers for Better Servicing
1.5.4  Changing Providers Due to ‘Maximum Time with Provider’ Policy

Your Right to Fair Scheduling of ‘Job Search’ Appointments

1.6  Your Right to a ‘Reasonable Excuse’
1.6.1  Reasonable Excuse Definition
1.6.2  Unreasonable Excuse Determination
1.6.3  Your Right to Reasonable Notice
1.6.4  Rescheduling an Appointment after a Penalty

Your Right to be Referred to a Fair and Suitable Workplace

1.7  Your Right to Reject Unsuitable Work
1.7.1  Unsuitable Work Definition
1.7.2  Unsuitable Work for People with Partial Capacity to Work
1.7.3  Unsuitable Work for Principal Carer Parents
1.7.4  Your Right to Suitable Work

Your Right to Privacy

1.8  Refusing to Complete a ‘Pre-Employment’ Survey

Your Right to Fair Job Search Requirements

1.9  Job Search Streams
1.9.1  Your Right to Reduced Job Search
1.9.2  Paid Work Reducing Job Search
1.9.3  Other Reasons for Reduced Job Search

Part Two: Your Rights at Work for the Dole

Part Three: Disputing an Employment Service Provider Penalty


  1. Hi I’ve been given a job and want to cancel my newstart allowance but have been discouraged by my employment provider to cancel it and now I will be receiving no money as in payment as I earn to much and are having to scan my wage slip every two weeks and send it to the employment provider Neato. What should I do, this does not feel right. My concern is that I want to have a nice clean cancel from Newstart but wont be able to achieve this.

    1. simply call centerlink and state you have work but your agency is advising you otherwise will look bad on them not you

    2. Hi Andrew, Go to Centrelink – you are allowed to voluntarily cancel your own Newstart – I did when my provider became unreasonable with attending appointments whilst I had some part-time work (just under the cancellation amount but not receiving enough to make it worth me losing a day’s pay to attend an appointment!). It gave me a clean cancel from the Newstart and Centrelink’s books. You don’t need to explain anything to your provider and you won’t be hassled by them if you go through Centrelink – they’re just upset at losing an “incentive” at keeping you unemployed!

    3. Neato have no right to see your pay slips you do not have to scan them to neato, I have never shown my pay slips to employment provider the only people that should see you pay slips are you your wife/partner , tax man and Centrelink

  2. Me useless provider has put me into Work for the Dole activity where I do stuff all that’s even remotely related to me old job! I’ve told them idiots so many times that I can’t work right now because I suffer from depression, anxiety, alcohol dependency, and a heavy gambling addiction. I’m no educated man, but the term WORK FOR THE DOLE (operative word: WORK!!) implies a WORKING activity!!! I CAN’T!!! I’ve b*tched to Centrelink but they’re just as useless as the other mob! Morons, the lot of them.

    The point of my post is to ask someone here if they know how to avoid getting out of a job interview they’ve arranged for me without getting me money cut for 8 weeks?? I have FAR too many things going on to have to go to a damn job interview. I’ve even explained to them that I had a vacation planned to go to Thailand for 6 weeks next week but Centrelink strikes again!! I can’t get paid while I’m overseas! Why is it that the working class get to have a normal life and go have fun!?? Are we, the helplessly unemployed not entitled to just as much of a good life as those that work? That’s discrimination mate. Not on.

    1. Hey Billy’s get a Centrelink medical certificate from your doctor works every time they cannot overrule a doctor

      1. They do it. I am 60. The Centrelink not take my medical certificate more than a year.
        I have 5 blood clots in my heart. I have to looking for job or they stop my payment.
        I cant do any job, they all know that but I have to looking for. Every week twice see the Jobseeker office.

  3. hey billy im pretty sure if you get a centrelink medical certificate for 3 months that should do the trick for you. I did that and i got out of work for the dole AND looking for work. HAHA! sucked in suckers! Im an Australian im entitled to this money without having to do anything!

    if you have given them one before though you can just get an esat and if you cry a lot and tell them you are sad they will feel sorry for you and put you in DES. DES never suspend your payment, its the best, my friend gets away with everything!

    1. You are so right billy. I’m with these asshole now and the job services continue to threaten everyone that goes in there with cancel payments. I have seen one person said they were going to kill them self because they needed help. But the job lady said to him in front of us “good ,go do it then you will be off our books.” Right in front of us can you believe that. They are the nasty people at advanced personnel management (APM) it’s on suite 3101 level 1 10 banfield street Chermside.
      The women’s names are Vanessa and kelli. Can you believe it they still work there and they didn’t get into trouble at all for saying that. We are all entitle to the money, no one say’s anything about refugees they are all on centerlink payments, so why can’t white Australians. You can hear them talking to clients in there and everyone of them have done what they suppose to do , so why do they keep threatening people money for, ego trip?.

  4. Hi,
    I have been unemployed for 4 months but have not claimed the government Newstart / unemployment benefit as it appears from the information available to me that it is asset – tested. This means that because my wife is employed and earning a salary, that i am not entitled to a government dole / benefit. Is this corrct, and if so, what conditions are in force?
    Kind Rgds,

  5. Depending on your wifes income you might still be entitled to some benefit and a healthcare card simply apply for it and give it a go dont waste your savings

  6. Hello, I am 57 years old and have decided to do volunteering instead of work for the dole. I am ‘partial’ health issues and have to do 15 hours a week. I would like to know if I have to do this till I get the pension at 67? I did read under the shedual ‘Job seekers over 60 do not have an Annual Activity Requirement but may choose to do volunteer work.’ This sentence is confusing! I know I’m not a Job seeker but a volunteer, and yet it does say you may CHOOSE to do volunteer. It doesn’t say you may do volunteer instead, but you may choose to do volunteer! Would like your comment. Thank you.
    A. Ebneter

    1. My question exactly – the new rules from 2018 say that if you are over 60 you will be required to volunteer 10 hours a fortnight. I am currently 62 and have to volunteer 30 hours a fortnight to receive Newstart (although the current rules say that over 60’s do not have an activity requirement) – does this mean I will only have to do 10? It is not clear at all!

      1. I too would like to know , 60yrs old doing 30 hrs per fortnight …How come wfd get such and easy run , I know form personal info that it is so easy for them and yet I do 30hrs combined form 2 different volunteer placements.One of which is not good at all , the other very good , treats you with respect . Can I only do 7.5 hrs @per week and keep my new start allowance.Wfd done do much at all and seem like they take days off very easy with no problems.

  7. The whole employment and land hoarding system in this country is merely a rebranded form of the convict slave system which founded this state/nation. It’s time to demand a national apology from the UK Crown for its past and present slavery.

  8. Is there a way to resign from a casual job without penalties? Can I leave a casual job without any penalty from the job agency (who now has power to cancel Centrelink payments at will) as well as Centerlink themselves. I’m a part new start recipient and have been reporting my income and hours.

  9. Retrenched in 2013. I seem to pick up a job once in a while to get by as Centrelink will not pay me newstart as I do not meet the criteria and at this point in time in 3 years I doubt I’ll get a pension for the same reason as I own a property or 2 which I brought some time ago. In the last 3 years I have had 2 hernia operations and spent 4 months in Perth for cancer treatment. I tried to get a disability allowance and or the dole but failed as I was too healthy and could work for up to 15 hours a week. So up till now the 8th Sept 2016 I have tried 5 times to get the dole and failed. I see people walking past my house at 11 am to get their daily supply of tax payer paid for booze and what do I get for the years of tax I paid…..fa.

  10. If you have an ongoing medical problem (sciatic nerve pain in this instance) supported by a medical certificate, can the Employment Services Provider dismiss that med cert and send you to whatever work-for-the-dole activity they want? Is there any way to make the Employment Service Provider sign an agreement that they are liable if such an activity causes further injury or harm?

    1. im going through the same all u can do is throw them copies of there duty of care eg they cant just ignore a medical cert and that they are possibly putting u in a unsafe work place due to your condition ill keep u updated they r like debt collectors only out there to pick up as many commissions they can u on so they can line there own pockets
      ill keep u updated i refuse to look for work as i know that with my condition i could not function safely

  11. My Job net work is taking credit for my own hard work in getting a job and have provided no help applying or even a cover letter that I have written my self along with my resume and interview clothing that I bought my self I asked for assistance with Ppe if I do get a start and they wanted details of the job I applied for so I gave them details on the job interview to find that they have contacted the work place to speak about my interview. It was uncalled for I had no knowledge of them doing that I feel they wrecked my chance in gaining employment with that company as they are really busy and had to take the time to speak to her about my interview

  12. I was wondering if you are on a employment agency appointment and there is a job that needs my email are they aloud to look at my private email account seeing what l have there they didn’t go into the emails but looked at the list of emails
    I feel this is invading my privacy he flicked my email account off and asked that l close my email account and he said it is gone l said put in url and it appeared so had it logged off
    Felt l should have right or can they do this

  13. i was given a 2 yr unfit for work cert from doc centre link gave me 6 mnths no reporting to job provider out of the blue around 6 months later i have msg to report to work provider again so i went in gave them a new not fit for work cert they pretty well ignore it and just made me sign new job plan and next date to attend there office with requirements that work ive looked for
    im going to ignore it and when i go bak to provider next week ill tell them i haven’t fulfilled there requirements as im unfit for work and tell them they have acted improperly by making me look for work when they know im not for work
    am i on the right track ive had collapsed lung 3 times i now have severe gen desise in my spine and its trapping nerves between the bones extremely painful im awaiting surgery but its a 18 month waiting list

  14. My job network provider cut my payment off for failure to attend a appointment even tho i called that day earlier to tell them i had a doctors appointment. I called them today only for them to tell me i didn’t bring in my centrelink medical certificate to them by 5pm that day . Ive never been asked to do that before to bring in that day by 5pm . I lost my cool i suffer from depression and anxiety and anger management and i have two bulging disks in my lower back for which i am receiving medical help and physio. Is there such a thing as this 5pm deadline ? Btw Sarina Russo werribee vic is the provider .

    1. Sarina Russo are pathetic I’m in NSW their staff are rude and do not return calls or emails when you contact them. They demand I provide payslips to them even though I report my income religiously even overstating at times due to fact that sometimes my reporting date falls at odds with a pay cycle and I don’t have access to get payslips sent to my personal email they go to my work one which I do not have remote access to

  15. Hi fellow unemployed heathens,

    I’ve recently entered into a job plan (Friday) and have been put into some 25hr per week course, starting on Monday.
    At my appointment on Friday I asked when I would be paid. I was told it would go in straight away. It didn’t. My credit card is over the limit, I have no money for transport to get to the course.

    Does anyone know if I am still expected to meet “mutual” obligation requirements if I haven’t received a payment ?

    I’ve left messages with employment service provider but its Saturday so can’t speak to them or centerlink till Monday.

    Any idea if I will be penalised for not attending the course?

    1. For future ref- If you have a smart phone
      Take a photo of your med cert & txt it or email to jsa that way you have given them your certificate or other required info… Send original in timely manner after you have photocopied it.

  16. They are all a bunch of crooks in it for their own gain,I to did the right thing rang up saying I can’t attend an appointment and was told we need a Dr certificate by 4pm,I was like are you serious? They are like yes, My Dr was a half hour drive away and then an hour wait at least, They said fax it by 4 or it counts as a no show,I hear them all the time on the phone while I’m down there threatening people with ‘Well cut and cancel your payments if you don’t do what is asked of us” they are just a bunch of bullies on power trips and they make you feel like a criminal for being out of work

  17. They also said they would cover the cost of my study by doing a tafe course,I then get word that they refused to pay for my course because I apparently won’t get a job out of it,OK so you try do the right thing get into study to try further your employment plan but then are told no we can’t help you? I also had work at 15 hours a week but because my bench mark was 30 they rang my employer to ask why I wasn’t getting more hours,Next minute I’ve lost my job and down there 6 hours a week looking for full time work, They just use and abuse you and make commission out of you they are a pack of wild dogs

  18. I have a nightmare job provider, I have been cut off for not attending an appointment during school holidays, I’m a single parent of 3 children and didn’t find it appropriate to take them there due to the the condesending attitude of my job provider. I was cut off for not attending an appointment as I had a child off school and had a doctor’s certificate and called to say I was unable to attend only to have my job provider deny I called even though my phone had a record of it. When I gained a part time job instead of congratulations I was threatened with fraud charges if I was lying or didn’t put any wages in at all. My appointments are weekly even with sole care of my children and a part time job and the appointments are made at 2:30pm every week no matter how many times I tell them I have to pick up the kids from school. I’ve been told now they want to see all my payslips is this something I can tell them I’m not giving them? I dont think it’s any of their business.
    I’ve been unemployed for 2 years now after working for 20 and the last 6 of them as a single dad with my last year of work costing me 39k in income tax. I will never pay tax again to be treated like an imbecile I have never been so angry at a system that will gladly take 39k a year from my family’s stomachs then when I get a redundancy I’m treated like shit, its assumed that I live the high life on $400 a fortnight by the rest of the population and the government blames a budget blowout on me. It’s worth it to spend time with my kids who basically lived in before and after school care theres more to life than alienating your family and living under the stress of a mortgage just so the government can milk you for income tax, speeding fines and tolls.

    1. F them the only people who should see your pay slips is yourself the tax man and child support if you paying it,I wouldn’t be showing them nothing & the only reason they’d be asking for pay slips is to forward it to centrelink and make it out they got you the job,

  19. I have a brilliant idea for a small business yet disability unemployment tell me that I am not illegible for funding. My friend who is an immigrant has been given funding for his business. I find this disgusting, do I have the same rights. I am 58 why am I being punished.

  20. Centrelink cancelled my disability pension and put me on newstart without me applying for newstart. I was not given an employment provider and have not had one for 18 months. I just report and get paid ! Is it my responsibility or Centrelink to provide an employment provider .

  21. Job network dogs just breached me for failure to attend an appointment, My payment was suspended under law they state,Their scare tactics and intimidation is to much lol,A bit hard to attend an appointment when I’m working 12 hour days plus have no credit to call as payday from my job is not in yet. They’ve been pestering me for my payslips but why should I give them to them when they did nothing for me the whole year and a half I was out of work?

  22. Hi there I have found a job as a school cleaner it will set me up really well and will get me off my payment. but being the end of the school year there is the big school holidays where no one works so my question is if i have a definite job and i do the training course before the school year is out and some work but for the period of time of the school holidays am i going to have to job search if this is a definite opportunity.?

    1. You will more then likely have to search for a job. If you don’t want to I suggest getting a centrelink med cert.

      Job providers are a pain in the ass. Im only 21 and they have never gave me a job. I had one that the start of the year that i had found myself.
      They constantly bully and harass me even over the smallest things. They always threaten to cut my payments and apparently I miss appointments (ones I’m not even aware of) I always make sure that i have everything on paper from them. They have now made me go in everyday for 2 hours to look for more then 30+ jobs and I need to do that for 3 weeks. I also have to give them 20 jobs a month followed by 10 more a fornight for centrelink. I had a centrelink medical certificate that I gave my provider, they said they could only accept it for 2 days. I supplied another one and gave it to centrelink instead but they didn’t even code it. when it came to my work for the dole activity they gave me a place thats 2 hours away.

      I have a few medical issues that would stop me from working, they are currently expecting me to work 38+ hours. I’v done VMC’s but nothing else happens after that.

      Don’t give your job provider payslips they do not have the right to see them. as long as you claim what you’ve earned and have sent your payslip to centrelink then your fine.
      Dont even bother calling the department of employment to complain, they are absolutely foul mouthed, i was shocked when i had a guy yelling at me on the other end of the phone for something my provider told me. They are honestly disgusting and wont even put your complaint through.

  23. I’ve been off newstart for about a month now, but my JSA is still emailing/calling me about payslips. They’ve even gone as far to call my employer to provide them. I haven’t given them any payslips as they weren’t the ones who found me the job- I got it myself and I don’t want them claiming an incentive from the government when they haven’t done anything to help me. I’ve said this to the “site manager” of the agency and she keeps saying I need to provide payslips to prove I was working, so I got my manager to send an email to confirm while also providing two time sheets that show I worked there AND they called to speak to the manager and confirmed I work there and yet they’re still wanting the payslips. She says it has nothing to do with the inventive and that all that I’ve provided is not sufficient as she needs to “archive my file for auditory purposes”. Can someone please help me here, I’ve been told I’m not obligated to provide payslips (I’m well off the system now they shouldn’t even be contacting anymore) but she keeps harassing me about them

    1. Okay so I’ve emailed the department of employment and even they say I have no obligation to hand in any payslips, JSA have no right to ask or see them. Any who claim they do are lying. And so if they keep pressuring you say you’ve emailed the department of employment and they say you have zero obligations to hand in payslips.

  24. Yeah the whole thing is a joke
    Not to mention the bugs they put in the centrelink apps to track your every move
    Police state 101

  25. Where is this information coming from because I cannot find this on the dhs website. Unless I can verify this information from an official source I cannot expect that my job search provider will follow any of this. It is incorrect that you don’t have to jobsearch for 3 months before your pregnancy due date, it’s 6 weeks. I also can’t verify that if I work 40 hours a fortnight that my search requirements should be halved. You need to provide citations or your information cannot be used

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