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Major Labour Costs
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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)


    The Major Labour Costs Survey aims to collect data on the costs incurred by employers as a consequence of employing labour. It collects employment and labour cost data from a sample of businesses taken from the ABS register of businesses. Estimates of labour costs are produced for the private and public sectors including: employee earnings; employer payments for superannuation, workers' compensation, payroll tax and fringe benefits tax. Estimates are classified by State, industry, employer size and sector. The reference period for each labour costs survey is the year ended 30 June.


    All major economic policy Departments at both the Commonwealth and State levels consider labour costs data to be essential to their needs, especially in view of the Government's prices and incomes policy and the need to monitor labour costs for the wage fixation process.


    All organisations in the private and public sectors are within the scope of the survey, except:

    • the Australian permanent defence forces;
    • organisations in the private and public sectors primarily engaged in agriculture, forestry, and fishing;
    • overseas embassies, consulates etc; and
    • organisations solely comprised of self employed persons such as subcontractors, owner/drivers and consultants.


    Conceptual framework

    Not applicable

    Main outputs

    Labour Costs: gross wages and salaries, number of employees, superannuation costs, workers' compensation costs, payroll tax paid, fringe benefits tax paid and termination payments, by state or territory, by industry and by sector.


    State (see doclink below)

    • Estimates are published at the state level.
    • They are not available for any smaller geographical area.

    Sector (see doclink below)

    • Estimates are published at the sector level (private/public).

    Industry (see doclink below)

    • Estimates are published at the ANZSIC division level (1 digit).
    • Estimates are also available at the ANZSIC sub-division level (2 digit).

    Employer unit size

    • Estimates are published for businesses employing 'less than 20 employees', '20 to 99 employees' and '100 or more employees'.
    • Other breakdown of employer size is available as a special data service request for private sector only.

    Public Instituional Sector (see doclink below)

    • Selected estimates are published for 'general government', 'public trading enterprises' and 'financial enterprises'.
    • Other estimates are also available for this split subject to confidentiality restrictions.

    Other concepts (summary)

    Not applicable

    1. National & State/Territory\1.01 Australia
    1. National & State/Territory\1.02 All States & Territories

    Comments and/or Other Regions

    The largest geographical area covered is Australia. Estimates by State are available. Estimates for geographic areas below State level are not possible. Business within the Jervis Bay territory and external territories {Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands} are out of scope of the survey.


    Frequency comments

    The survey was conducted annually from 1985-86 to 1991-92, then in 1993-94. The next survey was conducted in 1996-97 and will not be conducted again until 2002-03


    The survey of Major Labour Costs was conducted annually from 1985-86 to 1991-92, and was then conducted in 1993-94, 1996-97.


    Data availability comments

    22/05/2002 11:57 AM

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