The EPP underpins the provision of services to a job seeker. The EPP is an individually tailored plan that identifies the job seeker's vocational goals, and records the activities the job seeker will undertake to reach these goals. If a job seeker has an employment services provider the plan will also list specific ways the provider will support a job seeker to improve their employment prospects and gain sustainable employment.
The EPP replaces any activity agreement or plan previously negotiated, however, previously approved agreements remain binding until an EPP has been negotiated and signed by the job seeker. The EPP will be reviewed and updated at each contact with an employment services provider to reflect changes in the individual's circumstances; participation requirements and the activities they are undertaking.
An EPP must be in a form approved by the Secretary of DEEWR. This is a legal requirement under social security law.
The EPP caters for all job seekers with activity test or participation requirements and also non-activity tested job seekers. Government policy requires all recipients of NSA, PP and YA (job seeker), who have activity test or participation requirements and do not have an activity test exemption, to have a current EPP. Under social security law, income support recipients with participation or activity test requirements cannot qualify for payment unless they are prepared to enter into and comply with the terms of an EPP when required.
Employees of employment services providers and DHS are delegated certain powers under social security law by the Secretary of DEEWR, including the power to require a job seeker to enter into or vary an EPP, approve the terms of an EPP, and suspend or cancel an EPP.
The EPP records activities and appointments that job seekers have agreed to undertake to meet their activity test or participation requirements and to move along an employment pathway leading to sustainable paid work. Activities must be set with the aim of improving the individual's employment prospects. Job seekers may be required to undertake one or more activities depending on their individual needs and their capacity to participate.
Where appropriate, activities should focus on achieving sustainable employment, including looking for a particular number of jobs each fortnight. However, for some job seekers, including all early school leavers, the primary focus must be the undertaking of approved courses of education, training or other approved activities that on completion, will improve their employment prospects. The courses, training and activities should generally be vocationally orientated and designed to improve the job seeker's capacity and skills to enable them to secure and undertake suitable paid work.
All EPP terms must be negotiated within the parameters set out in the relevant provisions of social security law. An EPP must meet the needs of an individual job seeker and not place unreasonable demands on the job seeker, having regard to the job seeker's personal circumstances. Care should be taken when negotiating activities for job seekers with a limited or partial capacity to meet their activity test requirements, for example due to health issues or family/caring responsibilities, to ensure that the job seeker not only has the capacity to meet each individual term (activity), but the sum total of the terms in the EPP.
A job seeker can suggest activities that they may like to undertake. However, the delegate, in accordance with relevant guidelines, will determine if these activities are suitable and whether they will be included in the job seeker's EPP.
Once the EPP is negotiated and approved, a job seeker who fails to meet a compulsory term, or multiple terms of their EPP, may be subject to compliance action.
Each activity specified in an EPP must be:
Example: A delegate may consider any of the following activities for inclusion in an EPP:
For the RJCP a delegate may also consider:
Note: There are particular rules relating to different categories of job seekers and the types of activities that they must, or are able to, participate in to meet their activity test/participation requirements. These are detailed in 1.1.A.40, 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168.
An EPP is not required to be entered into, or complied with, when a job seeker has a full activity test exemption (3.2.11).
For the RJCP an EPP under social security law is also known as an individual participation plan.
Act reference: SSAct section 593 Qualification for NSA, section 606 Newstart Employment pathway plans-terms, section 607 Newstart Employment pathway plans-principal carers, section 607A Newstart Employment pathway plans-people with partial capacity to work, section 607B Newstart Employment pathway plans-requirement to participate in an approved program of work, section 603 Relief from activity test-general (NSA), section 540 Qualification for YA-general rule, section 544B YA Employment Pathway Plans-terms, section 544DA YA Employment Pathway Plans-early school leavers, section 544E YA Employment Pathway Plans-suspension of plans for people with certain exemptions, section 501A PP Employment Pathway Plan-terms
Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.11 Activity Test for NSA/YA Job Seekers - Exemptions, 22.214.171.124 What Should Not be Included in an Employment Pathway Plan, 126.96.36.199 What Can be Included in an Employment Pathway Plan, 188.8.131.52 Unsuitable Work, 3.2.9 Activity Testing for NSA/YA Job Seekers - Suitable Activities
Last reviewed: 12 August 2013