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!

  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

  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. the employment by rights should not ignore a medical certificate they’re breaking guidelines if they do read the Auwu PDF on there website on employment service providers and your rights

    2. 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 .

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