The Lies and Misinformation of the Department of Employment

By Karissa, AUWU Member

I submitted complaint stating that my job active was breaching the deed by asking me to attend fortnightly appointments instead of monthly and the response claimed that they weren’t obliged to do monthly appointments and tried to say that it wasn’t specified in the deed… see below the copy and pasted response:

Thank you for your email.

Under the Social Security Law, people receiving activity-tested income support payments must show that they are actively looking for work and are participating in a range of activities that will help them into employment, unless the Department of Human Services has granted them an exemption from these requirements for a specified period of time. These activities are referred to as mutual obligation requirements and include the range of requirements a job seeker can be compelled to fulfil under Social Security Law in return for their income support payment. These activities will be documented in a Job Plan and include attending provider appointments, undertaking job search and acting on referrals to jobs, undertaking an Annual Activity Requirement and participating in any other activity that is relevant to their personal circumstances and that will help the job seeker improve their employment prospects.

Job seekers must meet their mutual obligation requirements to continue to receive their income support payment.

Neither social security law nor the Employment Services Deed 2015-2020 stipulates that job seekers are only obliged to attend monthly appointments. Further to this, the Mutual Obligation Requirements (including Annual Activity Requirement) Guideline, advises that job seekers with full-time mutual obligation requirements must attend regular appointments with their jobactive provider. Appointment frequency is not limited to one appointment per month. Being compelled to attend jobactive provider appointments more frequently than once a month, is not a breach of the Employment Services Deed 2015-2020, social security law or any jobactive Guideline.

The main objective of jobactive is to promote stronger workforce participation and help job seekers move from welfare to work. If a provider considers that additional appointments are necessary in particular circumstances, this is a compellable activity that can be included as a mutual obligation requirement in the job seeker’s Job Plan. Job seekers who fail to attend their notified appointments may be subject to action under the job seeker compliance framework.

If you would like any further information, please call the National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260 and quote reference number 285153.

National Customer Service Line
Australian Government Department of Employment Phone 1800 805 260

AUWU Response: Below is the evidence that Karissa is completely right to expect monthly appointments with her job agency and that the Department of Employment are failing in their obligations to provide accurate information of the the jobactive deed and guidelines.

If you are unemployed and attend a jobactive agency, do not accept anything other than monthly appointments. The AUWU will be pursuing this matter shortly with the Department of Employment and Commonwealth Ombudsman.