A job seeker may be found to have committed a NSNP failure if they:
A decision maker cannot apply a NSNP failure where the job seeker has a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with a requirement and, where the job seeker has failed to attend an activity, they gave prior notice of the reasonable excuse (assuming it was reasonable to expect them to do so).
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 42C No show no pay failures
Failure to start or participate in an activity as agreed in an EPP can result in a NSNP failure. A job seeker may also be subject to a NSNP failure if they are substantially late, if they leave the activity early, or if there is an unauthorised absence.
Decision makers have to decide whether the requirement is an activity or an appointment. This is an important distinction because a failure to attend an appointment under an EPP results in a connection failure rather than a NSNP failure.
In general, activities are requirements such as training, work experience or WFD that take up a substantial part of the day. An appointment is a requirement to attend an office of an employment services provider or Centrelink for a brief interview.
Regardless of whether or not they have committed a NSNP failure, if a job seeker who does not have a current Vulnerability Indicator fails to attend an activity and their provider believes that the job seeker has become disengaged from the activity, the job seeker's income support becomes immediately non-payable. As a consequence, their payment is suspended as soon as Centrelink is notified of the non-attendance and disengagement from the activity. Once the job seeker contacts or is contacted by Centrelink and agrees to attend an appointment with their provider to discuss the matter, their payment is restored from the date it was suspended (i.e. they are back paid). If the job seeker does not agree to attend the appointment with their provider, it is booked regardless and their payment remains suspended.
Job seekers may choose to undertake a serious failure requirement (known as a compliance activity) in order to end a serious failure period.
Where a job seeker is required to undertake a compliance activity, any failure to comply with that requirement on a particular day, will result in a NSNP failure. However, if the job seeker fails to commence the compliance activity (which means, in practice, entering into an EPP containing a requirement to undertake a compliance activity), the job seeker's serious failure period will recommence, rather than them having a NSNP failure applied.
If a job seeker attends an activity or compliance activity but behaves inappropriately, a NSNP failure may apply. The legislation describes this as committing misconduct while in an activity. The legislation does not define misconduct and, as such, its ordinary meaning is used.
'Behaving inappropriately' means failing to behave according to commonly expected standards. Inappropriate behaviour could include not following reasonable instructions, being unco-operative, aggressive, violent, offensive or disruptive, harassing other participants or behaving in a dangerous manner. It may also include being intoxicated or consuming intoxicants whilst in the activity. In general, the behaviour should be serious in nature, deliberate and within the job seeker's control.
Failure to attend a job interview is a NSNP failure. For a failure to apply, the job seeker must have no reasonable excuse for the failure and the work must be suitable (see 1.1.S.410 for the definition of suitable work). A NSNP failure applies for the day of the interview.
Refusal of a job offer is a serious failure (see below).
If a job seeker attends a job interview but deliberately behaves in a manner that causes the job seeker not to receive a job offer, a NSNP failure applies. Failing to behave appropriately at a job interview could include:
Circumstances not within the job seeker's control such as excessive nervousness, poor language or verbal skills or a limited wardrobe cannot be considered as deliberate misbehaviour. It must also have been reasonably foreseeable that the behaviour would result in an offer of employment not being made.
A NSNP failure will result in the job seeker losing the equivalent of a working day's payment. A working day's payment refers to a calculated amount that not only takes into account a daily payment but also the appropriate proportion of any weekends occurring in the relevant instalment period. In a 14-day instalment period that is not affected by a reconnection failure period, this will work out to be one-tenth of their participation payment for the pay period in which the failure occurred, one-tenth of any fortnightly CES paid (see note), and one-tenth of any participation-related supplement. A participation-related supplement is the payment that a job seeker gets for participating in Green Corps, WFD, Drought Force or the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program.
Note: The CES may be paid either fortnightly or quarterly. If a job seeker is receiving the CES on a fortnightly basis, paid with their fortnightly participation payment, the CES is included when calculating any penalty amount. If the CES is paid on a quarterly basis, it is a separate payment and is not included in or affected by any NSNP penalties.
The calculation of the amount does not include add-on payments such as RAA, pension GST supplement, RA, PhA, YDS, MOB, PES, TAL, UA and ISB. The penalty does not affect a job seeker's access to a HCC or FTB. The penalty amount cannot be greater than the job seeker's payment for the period in which the failure/s occurred. The calculation of the amount is based on the job seeker's participation payment after taking into account any income earned. If part of the period coincided with a reconnection failure period, this will also reduce the amount of participation payment on which the calculation is based.
A NSNP penalty does not reduce the job seeker's entitlement for the pay period in which it is incurred. It results in the job seeker incurring a penalty amount which is deducted from a later payment. The penalty amount cannot be deducted from the first payment that is made after the job seeker is notified of the decision to apply the failure, but can be deducted from any payment after that. If necessary, it can be taken from more than one payment. When deducting the penalty amount, Centrelink can deduct it from the job seeker's basic participation payment only.
Because the penalty amount is calculated on the basis of the amount of participation payment received in the period in which the failure/s occurred, it is possible that in the period in which it is deducted the job seeker may not receive enough participation payment to allow full recovery of the penalty amount (for example because the job seeker has income from part-time work which has reduced their payment). If this is the case, the balance is deducted from future payments of any participation payment until it is fully recovered. Debt recovery arrangements (e.g. waiver of small amounts) do not apply to compliance penalty amounts.
The calculation method for a NSNP penalty is detailed in the Social Security (Administration) (Penalty Amount) (DEEWR) Determination 2012 (No. 1).
Last reviewed: 20 March 2013