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6310.0 - Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, Aug 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/03/2006   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey conducted throughout Australia in August 2005 as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Respondents to the LFS who fell within the scope of the supplementary survey were asked further questions.


2 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks, which also apply to supplementary surveys. LFS also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing which are relevant to both the monthly LFS and supplementary surveys.


3 From April 2001 the LFS has been conducted using a redesigned questionnaire containing additional questions and some minor definitional changes. These changes also affect the supplementary surveys. For further details, see Information Paper: Implementing the Redesigned Labour Force Survey Questionnaire (cat. no. 6295.0) and Information Paper: Questionnaires Used in the Labour Force Survey (cat. no. 6232.0).


4 Information for this survey was collected using computer assisted interviewing (CAI), whereby responses are recorded directly onto an electronic questionnaire via a notebook computer. The CAI method was implemented in the LFS progressively between October 2003 and August 2004.


5 The change of interviewing method is not expected to have affected the estimates in any meaningful way.



CONCEPTS, SOURCES AND METHODS

6 The conceptual framework used in Australia's LFS aligns closely with the standards and guidelines set out in Resolutions of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians. Descriptions of the underlying concepts and structure of Australia's labour force statistics, and the sources and methods used in compiling these estimates, are presented in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) which is available on the ABS web site.



SCOPE

7 The scope of the LFS was restricted to persons aged 15 years and over and excluded the following people:

  • members of the permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and population estimates
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants).

8 Students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities), and inmates of prisons are excluded from all supplementary surveys.


9 This supplementary survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded approximately 120,000 persons living in very remote parts of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey. The exclusion of these persons will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, except the Northern Territory where such people account for around 23% of the population.


10 In addition to those already excluded from the LFS, employees who worked solely for payment in kind in their main job are excluded from this survey.



COVERAGE

11 The estimates in this publication relate to people covered by the survey in August 2005. In the LFS, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.



SAMPLE SIZE

12 The initial sample for the August 2005 LFS consisted of 41,533 private dwelling households and special dwelling units. Of the 33,671 private dwelling households and special dwelling units that remained in the survey after sample loss (e.g. households selected in the survey which had no residents in scope for the LFS, vacant or derelict dwellings and dwellings under construction), approximately 31,062 or 92.3% were fully responding to the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership survey. The number of completed interviews obtained from these private dwelling households and special dwelling units (after taking into account scope, coverage and subsampling exclusions) was 27,658.



RELIABILITY OF THE ESTIMATES

13 Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors:

  • Sampling error is the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey. For more information see the Technical Note.
  • Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers and errors made in coding and processing data. These inaccuracies may occur in any enumeration, whether it be a full count or a sample. Every effort is made to reduce the non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers and efficient processing procedures.


SEASONAL FACTORS

14 The estimates are based on information collected in the survey month and, due to seasonal factors, may not be representative of other months of the year.



CLASSIFICATIONS USED

15 Occupation data are classified according to ASCO - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition (cat. no. 1220.0).


16 Industry data are classified according to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0).


17 Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 1998 (cat. no. 1269.0).



NOTES ON ESTIMATES

18 In August 2005, weekly earnings could not be determined for a number of persons. This group includes persons working in their own limited liability company who did not draw a wage or salary. In previous years this category also included cases where information related to weekly earnings was not provided by the respondent. See paragraph 27 which outlines how these records were treated in 2005.


19 Care should be taken when using estimates of mean or median weekly earnings. Employees who did not draw a wage or salary are excluded from estimates of mean or median weekly earnings.


20 Persons who said 'yes' to either of the following questions:

  • does your employer/business provide you with paid sick leave?
  • does your employer/business provide you with paid holiday leave?
    are categorised as 'with leave entitlements'. In all other cases, respondents are categorised as 'without leave entitlements'.


COMPARABILITY OF TIME SERIES

21 Revisions are made to population benchmarks for the LFS after each five-yearly Census of Population and Housing. The last such revision was made in February 2004 to take account of the results of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. Estimates from supplementary surveys conducted from and including February 2004 are therefore based on these revised population benchmarks.


22 Supplementary surveys are not always conducted on the full LFS sample. Since August 1994 the sample for supplementary surveys has been restricted to no more than seven-eighths of the LFS sample. As a result of the reduction in sample size, standard errors for this survey differ from those applicable to previous surveys.


23 In August 1990, persons aged 70 years and over were excluded from this survey, restricting the age of respondents to 15-69 years. The scope of surveys since 1991 and surveys run prior to August 1990, included persons aged 70 and over.


24 Care should be taken when comparing movements in mean weekly earnings and employment benefits estimates that include the July 1991 and August 1997 surveys. The usual period between surveys is 12 months; however, in 1991 the elapsed time was 11 months (August 1990 to July 1991), and in 1992 it was 13 months (July 1991 to August 1992). In 1997, the elapsed time was 2 years (August 1995 to August 1997).


25 A change was made in 2002 to the method used to determine whether an employee works full-time or part-time in their main job. Prior to 2002, 'full-time or part-time employees in main job' was derived from a self-perception question in which all employees were asked 'Is your job full-time or part-time?'. Following the redesign in 2001 of the LFS questionnaire, actual hours worked in main job in the reference week is now collected. From August 2002, data on hours worked in main job are used to derive full-time or part-time status of employees in main job.


26 This approach is consistent with the method used in the LFS to derive full-time or part-time status in all jobs. For further details see Glossary entries 'Full-time employees in main job' and 'Full-time workers'.


27 In August 2005 there were 2,355 cases where information relating to main job earnings was not provided by the respondent, and 78 cases where information relating to second job earnings was not provided by the respondent. Where this was the only information missing from the record, a value has been imputed based on answers provided from another respondent with similar characteristics (referred to as the donor). Donor records were selected for main job imputation by matching information on sex, age, state or territory of usual residence and labour force characteristics (full-time or part-time in main job, industry, occupation, hours worked in main job) of the person with missing information. Donor records were selected for second job imputation by matching information on sex, age, state or territory of usual residence, area of usual residence and owner manager status. Depending on which values are to be imputed, donors are chosen from the pool of individual records with complete information for the block of questions where the missing information occurs.


28 This method of imputation is similar to that used for the 2004 survey. The differences between the 2004 and 2005 imputation methods are that donors were matched where possible on a finer level of detail, and second job earnings were imputed in 2005 whereas in 2004 they were not. These changes in methodology are expected to improve the imputed earnings data at the unit record level, but are not expected to have much impact on aggregate estimates. The table below presents a comparison of the impact of the change in method on key estimates. The 2004 data presented in the table has been imputed using both the 2004 and 2005 methodology, so that the effect of the change in methodology can be measured.

EMPLOYEES, Weekly earnings - Full-time or part-time status in main job

MEANS
MEDIANS
2004(a)
2004(b)
2005(c)
2004(a)
2004(b)
2005(c)

Males
Full-time employees
993
994
1 047
850
850
900
Part-time employees
329
334
342
240
240
250
Total
896
897
946
782
782
800
Females
Full-time employees
817
821
854
728
733
758
Part-time employees
355
356
374
320
320
325
Total
604
607
630
550
550
576
Persons
Full-time employees
930
932
979
800
800
843
Part-time employees
349
350
366
300
300
308
Total
758
760
798
660
666
700

(a) As published.
(b) Results had 2004 data been imputed using the 2005 donor imputation method for cases where information relating to earnings was not provided by the respondent.
(c) 2005 data as published, using donor imputation method.


29 Prior to 2003 imputation was not used, hence employees whose weekly earnings could not be determined were excluded from estimates of mean or median weekly earnings. Care should therefore be taken when comparing earnings data from 2004 onwards with earnings data prior to 2003. To compare the change in method from 2003 to 2004 please see paragraph 28 of the explanatory notes in Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, August 2004 (cat. no. 6310.0).



COMPARABILITY WITH MONTHLY LFS STATISTICS

30 Due to differences in the scope and sample size of this supplementary survey and that of the LFS, the estimation procedure may lead to some small variations between labour force estimates from this survey and those from the LFS.



COMPARABILITY WITH EMPLOYER-BASED AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS SURVEY

31 Caution should be exercised when comparing estimates of mean weekly earnings in this publication with estimates of average weekly earnings included in the quarterly publication Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0), which are compiled from a survey of employers. There are important differences in the scope and methodology of the two surveys.


32 The quarterly Survey of Average Weekly Earnings excludes employees in the industries of Agriculture, forestry and fishing (ANZSIC Division A) and Private households employing staff (ANZSIC Subdivision 97), both of which are included in this household survey. The quarterly Survey of Average Weekly Earnings collects information from employers who complete a mailed questionnaire with details of their employees' total gross earnings and the total number of employees. For this household survey, respondents are either interviewed personally, or another adult member of their household responds on their behalf.


33 The methodology used in this household survey may result in non-sampling error not evident in surveys of employers (and vice versa). This may account for some of the differences between the results of the two surveys.



PREVIOUS SURVEYS OF WEEKLY EARNINGS

34 Similar surveys have been conducted annually since August 1975, except 1991 when the survey was conducted in July, and in 1996 when the survey was not conducted.


35 Prior to 1998, this publication was titled Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Australia (cat. no. 6310.0). The change in title reflects the inclusion of employment benefits and trade union membership data previously released in other publications.



PREVIOUS SURVEYS OF EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

36 Results of previous surveys on employment benefits have been published in:

  • Employment Benefits, Australia, August 1983 to August 1992 (cat. no. 6334.0)
  • Employment Benefits, Australia, August 1994 (cat. no. 6334.0.40.001)
  • Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Australia, August 1995 (cat. no. 6310.0.40.001)
  • Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Australia, August 1997 (cat. no. 6310.0)


PREVIOUS SURVEYS OF TRADE UNION MEMBERS

37 Information on trade union membership was first collected in 1976, then biennially in its current format, from 1986 to 1992. From this time it was conducted annually (with limited data available every second year). Results of previous surveys were published in:
38 Limited data on trade union membership have also been published in:

NEXT SURVEY

39 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in August 2006.



ACKNOWLEDGMENT

40 ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.



RELATED PUBLICATIONS

41 Other publications which may be of interest include:


42 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.

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