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6102.0.55.001 - Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, Apr 2007  
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Contents >> Methods >> Household Collections >> Chapter 21. Labour Force Supplementary Surveys >> 21.2. Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership

CHAPTER 21.2. EMPLOYEE EARNINGS, BENEFITS AND TRADE UNION MEMBERSHIP


INTRODUCTION

21.2.1 This survey collects information about employees' weekly earnings, leave entitlements, employment benefits and trade union membership. The survey is conducted on an annual basis, in August of each year.

21.2.2 The collection of a range of socio-demographic and labour force characteristics makes the survey extremely valuable for comparing and analysing the distribution of weekly earnings across employees. Data are used in the development and review of wages and labour market policies, and in wage negotiation processes. The survey is the only frequent source of data on the distribution of trade union members by socio-demographic and labour force characteristics.

21.2.3 This section describes only those aspects of the methodology that are unique to this survey, and hence should be used in conjunction with the overview part of this chapter, which outlines the survey methodology used in supplementary surveys.

SURVEY OUTPUT


21.2.4 Data from the survey have been published in Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia (cat. no. 6310.0) since 1998. More detailed time series data on earnings and trade union membership are available from the ABS website. Data from earlier surveys of weekly earnings, trade union members and employment benefits were published in separate publications (see paragraph 21.2.8 for further information). More detailed data are available on request.

21.2.5 The main population of interest is employees (including Owner Managers of Incorporated Enterprises). Employees who are paid solely in kind are excluded. Estimates are produced on an original basis only (i.e. not seasonally adjusted) and include:

      Socio-demographic information

      Sex, age, marital status, relationship in household, state or territory of usual residence, country of birth and year of arrival in Australia.


      Employment characteristics


      Occupation; industry; hours worked; full-time or part-time status; sector; size of employees' workplace.


      Employee earnings


      Weekly earnings distributions, mean and median weekly earnings (in main and all jobs) and frequency of pay.

      Leave entitlements


      Paid sick leave, paid holiday leave, paid long service leave and paid maternity/paternity leave.

      Employment benefits received


      A number of benefits are collected on an irregular basis, including: vehicle or vehicle costs; transport to and from work; communication and/or IT devices; child care or child's education costs; finance; gym membership; shares, rights or options; housing and/or utilities; health fund memberships; and union memberships or other professional association memberships.

      Trade Union Membership

      Trade Union membership in main job, trade union member not necessarily in connection with main job, length of current trade union membership, duration since previously a trade union member.
21.2.6 Data collected in the survey are compiled according to concepts and definitions outlined in Chapter 4 (Employment Measures and Classifications), Chapter 12 (Employee Remuneration), Chapter 13 (Industrial Relations) and Chapter 16 (Other Classifications Used in Labour Statistics).

SCOPE


21.2.7 The scope of this survey is restricted to persons aged 15 years and over. The standard scope restrictions for supplementary surveys outlined in the overview part of Chapter 21 also apply to this survey.


DATA COMPARABILITY OVER TIME


21.2.8 In order to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time, changes to survey methods, survey concepts, data item definitions, frequency of collection, and analysis methods are made as infrequently as possible. Over the time the survey has been conducted there have been some changes to the scope and sample size. These changes mean that the standard errors for the survey differ over time. The effect on estimates of the change in scope is considered to have been small. Changes affecting the Labour Force Survey may also affect this survey. Such changes are outlined in Chapter 20 and are not repeated here. The main changes to the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership survey are outlined below.

1975
Annual survey commenced (August) - preliminary data published in
Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Preliminary (Ref. no. 6.50) and final data in Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution) (Ref. no. 6.51). Earnings and hours worked data related to 'all jobs'.

1976

Survey expanded, additional data collected included 'earnings in main job' and 'hours paid'

1977

Catalogue numbers replaced reference numbers - cat. no. 6309.0 (preliminary data) and cat. no. 6310.0 (final data).

1983

Survey expanded, additional data on employment benefits collected annually and published separately - preliminary data published in
Employment Benefits, Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 6332.0) and final data in Employment Benefits, Australia (cat. no. 6334.0). Data on employment benefits previously collected in February to May 1979 and published under the same titles. Note: data from the 1979 survey related to employees working 20 or more hours per week; from 1983 data related to all employees, but school students were assumed not to receive benefits other than leave (paid holiday, paid sick and long service), and goods and services benefits.

1984

Preliminary publication for weekly earnings discontinued.

1985

Employees on workers' compensation excluded from estimates.

1986

Survey expanded, additional data on trade union membership in main job collected biennially and published separately - data published in
Trade Union Members, Australia (cat. no. 6325.0) (no preliminary publication). Data on trade union membership previously collected in November 1976, and March to May 1982 and published under the same title (with Ref. no. 6.65 in 1976). Note: estimates from the 1976 survey related to trade union membership in main job and also included trade union membership of some unemployed persons (in their most recent job); estimates from the 1982 survey were restricted to employed persons and related to trade union membership in any job.

1987

Definition of transport benefit broadened.

1988

Preliminary publication for employment benefits discontinued.

1990

Scope of survey restricted to persons aged 15-69 (for this year only).

1991

Survey month changed to July (for this year only) because of the August 1991 Census post-enumeration survey. Persons attending school were not asked questions about their employment benefits other than entitlements to leave (paid holiday, paid sick and long service), and goods and services benefits.

1992

Frequency of trade union membership data increased to annual. Data continued to be published separately on a biennial basis in
Trade Union Members, Australia (cat. no. 6325.0) until 1996. Limited data were also published in Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Australia (cat. no. 6310.0) on alternate years (1993, 1995, 1997) until the publications were combined in 1998. Frequency of detailed employment benefits data reduced to biennial, with limited data collected on alternate years. Detailed data continued to be published separately in Employment Benefits, Australia (cat. no. 6334.0) until 1994. Limited data were also published in Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Australia (cat. no. 6310.0) in 1993. Note: in years when detailed employment benefits data were collected, persons attending school were not asked questions about their employment benefits other than entitlements to leave (paid holiday, paid sick and long service) and superannuation; in years when limited data were collected all persons were asked only about entitlements to leave (as before) and superannuation.

1994

Sample restricted to no more than seven-eighths of the Labour Force Survey sample. Frequency of detailed employment benefits data reduced to irregular, with limited data collected annually (for all persons in scope of survey). Detailed data published separately in 1994 in
Employment Benefits, Australia (cat. no. 6334.0.40.001). Limited data published annually from 1995 in Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Australia (cat. no. 6310.0.40.001). Standard Data Service replaced publication format.

1996

Earnings data not collected, due to Census post-enumeration survey.
Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Australia (cat. no. 6310.0) not published. Trade union membership and limited employment benefits data published in Trade Union Members, Australia (cat. no. 6325.0). Publication format replaced Standard Data Service.

1997

Limited employment benefits and trade union membership data published in
Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Australia (cat. no. 6310.0). Persons living in remote and sparsely settled areas excluded from scope.

1998

Separate publications for weekly earnings, employment benefits and trade union members discontinued and replaced with a combined publication -
Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia (cat.no. 6310.0).

1999

Detailed employment benefits data collected for all persons in scope of survey.

2002

Definition of full-time or part-time status changed. Prior to 2002, full-time or part-time status in main job was based on self perception, however, from 2002 onwards it is based on the number of hours worked.

2004

Detailed employment benefits data collected for all persons in scope of survey.

2006

Share benefits data collected for all persons in scope of survey.

Occupation data classified according to the
Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition, 2006 (cat. no. 1220.0). This classification replaced the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO), Second Edition, 1997 (cat. no. 1220.0). Data classified according to ASCO are available via spreadsheets on the ABS web site or can be obtained on request.

Industry data classified according to the
Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0). This classification replaced the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0). Trade union membership and earnings data classified according to ANZSIC 1993 are available via spreadsheets on the ABS web site or can be obtained on request.

2007
From 2007 onwards, estimates of mean and median earnings include amounts salary sacrificed. This change was in accordance with the revised conceptual framework for measures of employee remuneration, as outlined in
Information paper: Changes to ABS Measures of Employee Remuneration (cat. no. 6313.0).

Estimates of mean and median weekly earnings provided in publications prior to 2007 exclude amounts salary sacrificed by employees. As a result, there is a break in series, so care should be taken when comparing earnings estimates from 2007 with estimates in previous publications.

Share benefits data collected for all persons in scope of survey.

2008
Additional data items collected including 'Age of youngest child', 'Number of dependent children under 15 years', 'Age and whether attending an educational institution', 'Duration of employment in main job'.

2009
Detailed employment benefits data collected. Additional data items on trade union membership history included. Module on education attainment also included (for 2009 only).


FURTHER INFORMATION


21.2.9 For further details contact the Labour Market Statistics Section in Canberra on (02) 6252 7206 or at <labour.statistics@abs.gov.au.>.

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