Mutual Obligation requirements for job seekers in Victoria will remain unchanged where no penalties or suspensions will apply for any job seeker.

Where job seekers can, and it is safe to do so, they can engage with their employment service provider either online or over the phone. Job seekers who are serviced online should continue to consider their employment and training goals.

Employment service providers in Victoria have been instructed to take all local Health advice, including all lockdown measures, into consideration when making any arrangements for jobseekers.

All other states:

Mutual obligation requirements will resume from Tuesday 4 August 2020. Job seekers must be willing to accept any offer of suitable paid work and penalties will now apply if a job seeker refuses a job without a reasonable excuse.

Please see for information on the job seeker compliance system.

Job seekers with providers will be required to:

  • undertake appointments with their employment services provider. This can be done online or over the phone or in exceptional circumstances in person.
  • agree to a Job Plan- the Job Plan sets out what a job seeker agrees to do while on payment and moving towards or back into employment.
  • undertake up to four job searches per month, tailored to local labour market conditions and
  • participate in training or other activities, either online or in person where safe to do so.

Job seekers who are in the Online Employment Service will be required to agree to their Job Plan and undertake up to four job searches per month. Job seekers will not be subject to payment suspensions or penalties for not meeting these requirements.

Special circumstances exemptions will continue to be available from Services Australia for job seekers who require them, including those directly affected by COVID-19.

All job seekers are encouraged to maintain contact with their employment services provider or log onto their jobactive dashboard regularly, to ensure they are aware of opportunities available for training, upskilling or employment.

For more information:

If you need to discuss your obligations, please phone :

  • Newstart Allowance, JobSeeker Payment and Special Benefit recipients can call 132 850.
  • Youth Allowance recipients can call 132 490.
  • Parenting Payment recipients with mutual obligation requirements can call 136 150.

For live updates visit either of the sites below.



Do you have a disability? Have things changed for you because of coronavirus (COVID-19)? Do you need support in a language other than English? Help is available.

Call the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787 and ask for an interpreter, or call Translating and Interpreting Services on 131 450 and ask for the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787. Information about the Disability Information Helpline is also available in 63 languages. Visit for more details.


What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation is when a person self-quarantines themselves at home and does not attend work, school or public places.

COVID-19 requires a self-isolation period of 14 days.

People in self-isolation should:

  • not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university
  • ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door
  • not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home
  • not need to wear a mask in your home, but do wear one if you have to go out (for example to seek medical attention)
  • stay in touch by phone and online with your family and friends

Further information on self-isolation can be found on the Department of Health website below.



Most people find unemployment to be a really difficult time. Your mental health is important, particularly during the current COVID-19 pandemic. If you would like support with your mental health, or just need someone to talk to, you can speak with our Allied Health team.

What is telehealth?

Telehealth connects people during times of isolation, making access to mental health support easier.

Telehealth counselling is a counselling session where you and your Allied Health team member are not in the same room as each other and use technology, like a phone or video conference to see and hear one another.

How does it work?

You can contact our National Service Centre on 136 123. They will help you make an appointment for a telephone appointment at a time that suits you, and then one of Allied Health professionals will give you a call at an agreed time. You will need to find a private and quiet space where you won’t be interrupted (or request those you live with not to disturb you). All consultations done via telehealth are secure and will not be recorded.

Within each session, your health professional typically invites you to share what’s been going on in your life, what’s bothering you, and any goals you’d like to discuss, including employment. You won’t be criticised, interrupted or judged as you talk.

How long does it last?

Telehealth sessions are usually 50-60 minutes in length. How many times you use the service is up to you and will depend on your situation.

How much does it cost?

This service is funded for participants engaged with Employment Plus.

Employment Plus Allied Health Services is not a crisis service and you will not be able to contact your health professional outside of normal business hours. Your health professional will help you develop a plan of what supports you have in place for between sessions, and if you do find yourself in crisis you should call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Additional resources for anxiety during this time:

Beyond Blue has information about how to care for your mental health and the people around you during the Coronavirus. Their website also includes resources for further information and help.

Smiling Mind has a COVID-19 support page with helpful information on their website about how to calm yourself if you’re feeling anxious, and how to use various strategies to manage and prevent anxiety.

ABC’s Mindfully podcast (produced in partnership with Smiling Mind) has created a short meditation called "Corona Calm – soothe an anxious mind" to help people feel a sense of calm during these complicated times.

Talking with children

"Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents shouldn’t avoid talking about it. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more."

Unicef Australia and the Child Mind Institute has helpful tips about how to have developmentally-appropriate conversations with children about the virus.