This topic provides information on participation requirements for PP recipients with special family circumstances. It discusses assessments of participation requirement exemptions. PP recipients who are subject to mandatory participation requirements can be either considered for an exemption from all participation requirements (on a short or long-term basis) or have reduced job search requirements and negotiate flexible arrangements to meet other participation requirements.
Part-time participation requirements are applied to PP recipients with youngest child aged either 6 or 7 years.
PP recipients subject to part-time participation requirements will generally meet their participation requirements through looking for suitable part-time paid work of at least 30 hours duration per fortnight using JSA or DES providers, in conjunction with participation in an approved activity, or combination of approved activities.
PP recipients subject to participation requirements will also be able to meet their participation requirements in full by undertaking suitable part-time paid work of between 15 and 25 hours duration per week.
The fundamental policy objective is to encourage PP recipients with school-age children to participate in the workforce and obtain at least 15 hours of work per week.
If the PP recipient has special family circumstances they either will, or may, be granted an exemption, depending on the nature of their special circumstances
Act reference: SSAct section 501B PP Employment Pathway Plans - requirement to look for work of appropriate number of hours per week
There are 2 types of exemption from participation requirements for PP recipients due to special family circumstances:
For both exemption types, PP recipients are required to provide documentation which substantiates the existence and nature of the special family circumstances. In the case of automatic exemptions, once adequate verification is provided, an exemption must be immediately granted. The only discretion is setting the duration of exemption.
There are a number of special family circumstances where an automatic exemption can be applied:
Exemptions for all other special family circumstances are to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
A further step is required for the assessment of case-by-case exemptions. Once the existence and nature of a special family circumstance is verified, consideration must be given to the practical impact of this circumstance upon the parent's capacity to undertake part-time paid employment of 15 hours a week. In making this determination primary regard must be given to the extent to which the PP recipient's child(ren) is/are able to attend school, and if necessary, outside school hours care, without the PP recipient being constantly at hand or on-call. Supporting statements of the THP and/or school (wherever information from these sources is appropriate) should be considered. The death of an immediate family member is also considered a special family circumstance.
Any exemption (whether automatic or case-by-case) will be subject to review and if the grounds for the period of exemption from participation no longer exist the exemption should be revoked.
Act reference: SSAct section 502D(3) to section 502D(3C) People with disabled children and other circumstances
Policy reference: SS Guide 18.104.22.1680 Participation Requirements Exemption in Special Family Circumstances - Automatic (PP), 22.214.171.1240 Participation Requirements Exemption in Special Family Circumstances - Case-by-Case (PP)
Neither this topic nor 126.96.36.1990 and 188.8.131.520 provide an exhaustive list of all types of special family circumstances for which an exemption from participation requirements may be obtained. For special family circumstances other than those discussed in these 3 topics, the delegate should rely on the following principle when making a determination: once the existence and nature of a special family circumstance is verified, consideration must be given to the practical impact of this circumstance upon the PP recipient's capacity to undertake part-time paid employment of 15 hours a week. In most cases regard should be given to the extent to which the PP recipient's child(ren) is/are able to attend school, and if necessary, outside school hours care, without the PP recipient being constantly at hand or on-call. Supporting statements of the THP and/or school (wherever information from these sources is appropriate) should be considered.
PP recipients may also be granted participation requirement exemptions on a case-by-case basis based on other special circumstances such as those that are unforeseen and beyond the persons control or those causing major disruption in their life. As a consequence, the PP recipient is unable to meet participation requirement obligations and it would be unreasonable to expect them to do so. These circumstances include crises such as natural emergencies or homelessness, people attending training camps for the Defence Reserves, particular difficulties experienced by people in remote areas, jury duty, difficulties resulting from other special circumstances.
Other parts of the Guide deal with procedures for assessing and granting exemptions in these sorts of circumstances.
Act reference: SSAct section 502F Special circumstances
Policy reference: SS Guide 184.108.40.206 Participation Requirements Exemption - Special Circumstances (PP)
PP recipients who have not yet been connected to an employment services provider and who are granted a short-term exemption (i.e. for 16 weeks or less) will be connected to an employment services provider such as JSA, but will not have to attend an appointment during the period of the exemption. PP recipients who have not yet been connected to an employment services provider and who are granted a medium to long-term exemption (i.e. greater than 16 weeks) do not need to be connected to an employment services provider; however, they will be given the opportunity to be connected and participate on a voluntary basis.
Act reference: SSAct section 1068-B5 Maximum basic rate for certain newstart allowance recipients, section 1067G-B3A Maximum basic rate for certain youth allowance recipients
Last reviewed: 2 January 2013