How are employment services changing?

Changes will soon be made to Australian Government employment services, including where job seekers access information and support and how mutual obligations work.

Key points

  • The current jobactive Government employment services will soon switch to Workforce Australia
  • Changes will be made to how support is provided to people and how people meet their obligations for the support
  • The Department of Education, Skills and Employment will contact you if you’re affected by the changes to explain how this impacts you

These changes are expected to affect around 800,000 Australians looking for work – including people with disability who are ineligible for Disability Employment Services (DES) – and are designed to improve the system for job seekers and employers.

The changes will not affect people currently using DES, which are under review and expected to change over to a new model in mid-2023.

The mainstream jobactive employment services will switch over to the new Workforce Australia services on 4 July, 2022.

Under Workforce Australia there will be two separate streams, online services and face-to-face services.

Workforce Australia Online

Workforce Australia online supports will be available to all people looking for a job, not only those receiving JobSeeker payments or employment support services.

Support online will include resources for work-related skill development and training, such as resume writing, career guidance and links to training programs.

The digital services will also provide access to financial support for resources or qualifications to help you find and keep a job – for example a police check or the white card used in construction – and a specialised contact centre to provide support to use the online services.

The contact centre staff will regularly check that you are managing with looking for a job on your own and will be able to refer you to an employment services provider if you need more than what the online system offers.

For people on income support, only those who are assessed as being ‘job ready’ and able to find work without an employment services provider will be directed to Workforce Australia Online at the beginning of July.

Employment services providers

The face-to-face services of Workforce Australia will be delivered through service providers in a similar way to the current system and offer more individualised support than the online services.

Some providers currently operating will stop when the change over to Workforce Australia happens and some new providers will start up, but your provider might also remain unchanged.

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has promised to contact everyone affected by these changes and will let you know if the changes are impacting your provider.

Providers will connect you with opportunities for education and training such as career guidance, mentoring, vocational training, work experience, job placements, work-related licencing and relocation assistance.

The move to more online services aims to reduce the caseload of providers so that they can focus on giving you more tailored support to achieve meaningful employment outcomes.

The Transition to Work program, which provides youth-specific support to young people aged 15 – 24 to help them develop work skills, do training and find a job, will continue under the Workforce Australia employment service providers.

Mutual obligations

A new Points Based Activation System will be introduced from 1 July, 2022 and is designed to be more flexible than the previous mutual obligations.

Under the new system the standard number of points a person needs to meet is 100 per month and points are earned through activities such as applying for jobs, doing training or undertaking work experience.

Each activity is worth a different amount of points and this also differs depending on the number of hours you participate in the activity for.

For example, starting a new job will be worth 20 points and completing paid work will be worth five points for five hours, so if you get a job and work 80 hours in the month (20 hours a week) you will meet your target.

Going to a job fair will be worth 20 points but can only be claimed once a year, while counselling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and support groups will be worth 10 points for an hour-long session.

Most education or training programs will be worth 20 points for a full-time week or 15 points for a part-time week – this includes self-employment assistance, Employability Skills Training, observational work experience and volunteer work sourced by a provider.

This means if you are doing a full-time training course or work experience you will also need to complete some other activities to meet the 100 point target, for example completing job applications which will be worth five points each.

The full list of activities and the points they are worth is available on the jobsearch website.

People who have a reason why they may not be able to meet 100 points a month can negotiate their target.

If you earn more than 100 points in a month these will carry over into the next month, so someone who earns 125 points one month, for example, will already have 25 points at the start of the next month towards their target.

You will need to report your points through Workforce Australia Online, via the mobile app or directly with your provider if you have one.

Your account with Workforce Australia will show you how you are tracking towards your target.

If you don’t meet your target number of points you may lose your income support payment, although you should tell your provider or the contact centre if you are worried you won’t meet the target so you can get extra support or explain your circumstances.

The Targeted Compliance Framework, which currently penalises people who continually do not meet their obligations without good reason, will continue under Workforce Australia.

If you have questions about how your mutual obligations will work or any other changes in the new employment services there are two main contact options:

  • Your employment services provider, if you have one
  • the Department of Education, Skills and Employment by emailing [email protected] or calling the transition line on 1300 854 414

The Department has promised to contact everyone currently participating in employment services before the Workforce Australia take over to explain which service you’ll move to, who your provider will be and what you need to do.

What support do you think would help you to find work? Tell us in the comments below.

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