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6310.0 - Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, August 2012 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/05/2013   
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1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership (EEBTUM) Survey conducted throughout Australia in August 2012 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 Information about survey design, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS, which also applies to supplementary surveys, can be found in the publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).


3 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, the concepts of earnings 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).

4 The conceptual framework for measures of mean and median earnings aligns closely with the standards and guidelines set out in the System of National Accounts 2008, and resolutions of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians.


5 The scope of the LFS is restricted to persons aged 15 years and over and excludes the following people:

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

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

7 This supplementary survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded persons living in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in very remote parts of Australia.

8 This survey was restricted to employees in their main job excluding employees who worked solely for payment in kind in their main job. Persons not in the labour force and unemployed persons were also excluded.


9 The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey in August 2012. 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.


10 Supplementary surveys are not 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.

11 The sample for EEBTUM is a subsample of 36,820 private dwelling households and special dwelling units included in the ABS monthly LFS in August 2012. The final sample on which estimates are based is composed of 25,967 persons aged 15 years and over who were employees in their main job.


12 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 effective processing procedures.


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


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

15 From 2006, occupation data are classified according to the ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, Revision 1 (cat. no. 1220.0).

16 Industry data are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 1.0) (cat. no. 1292.0).



17 Where information relating to earnings in main job and second job has not been provided by the respondent, values have been imputed. In August 2012, there were 3,422 cases where information relating to earnings in main job was not provided by the respondent, and 109 cases where information relating to earnings in second job was not provided by the respondent. Where this was the only information missing from the respondent record, the value was imputed based on answers provided from another respondent with similar characteristics (referred to as the "donor"). Donor records were selected for imputation of earnings in main job by matching information on sex, age, state or territory of usual residence and selected labour force characteristics (full-time or part-time in main job, industry, occupation, hours worked in main job, owner manager status) of the person with missing information.

18 Donor records were selected for imputation of earnings in second job by matching information on age, state or territory of usual residence, area of usual residence and owner manager status. Depending on which values were imputed, donors were chosen from the pool of individual records with complete information for the block of questions where the information was missing.


19 Estimates relating to mean and median weekly earnings exclude employees who did not draw a wage or salary. These employees comprise owner managers of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs) who responded that they did not draw a wage or salary when asked "In your main job, how often are you paid?" Care should be taken when using estimates of mean weekly earnings or median weekly earnings.

Leave entitlements

20 Employees (excluding OMIEs) have been classified as 'With paid leave entitlements' if they were entitled to paid sick leave and/or paid holiday leave. In all other cases, employees have been classified as 'Without paid leave entitlements'.


21 The Labour Force Survey estimates, and estimates from the supplementary surveys, are calculated in such a way as to sum to independent estimates of the civilian population aged 15 years and over (population benchmarks). These population benchmarks are based on Estimated Resident Population (ERP) data. Generally, revisions are made to population benchmarks for the LFS following the final rebasing of population estimates to the latest five-yearly Census of Population and Housing, or when the need arises.

22 From February 2009 Labour Force Estimates have been compiled using population benchmarks based on the 2006 Census of Population and Housing. Revisions were applied to the LFS population benchmarks in the July 2010 and November 2012 issues to take into account the latest available population estimates. The latest revision presented in the November 2012 issue is reflected in the estimates presented in EEBTUM.

23 Changes to the LFS population benchmarks impact primarily on the magnitude of the Labour Force Survey estimates (i.e. employment and unemployment) that are directly related to the underlying size of the population. For more details on population benchmarks, see the Explanatory Notes in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0), and for details about the revisions made, see the article in the November 2012 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) and the article in the September 2010 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

24 From 2009, the survey included people in very remote areas of Australia except for people living in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in very remote parts of Australia.

25 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).

26 A change was made in 2002 to the method used to determine whether an employee worked 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 was 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.

27 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'.

28 In 2007, there was a change to the data item 'Whether considered main job to be casual'. From 2007, all employees (excluding OMIEs) were asked if they were employed as a casual. In 2006 and previous years, OMIEs and employees who received both paid sick and paid holiday leave were not asked if they were employed as a casual. This resulted in a break in series. Users need to exercise care when comparing the number of people who considered their job to be casual with data prior to August 2007.

Salary sacrifice

29 The estimates of earnings in this publication are produced in accordance with the conceptual framework for measures of employee remuneration, as outlined in Information paper: Changes to ABS Measure of Employee Remuneration, Australia 2006 (cat. no. 6313.0).

30 From 2007, as a result of a change in the concept of earnings being measured, employees were asked to include salary sacrifice when estimating their earnings. In previous years, there was no explicit reference to the treatment of salary sacrifice. It is probable that some employees were already including amounts of salary sacrifice in their estimates of earnings, depending upon how their pay was reported. This change has resulted in a break in series. Users need to exercise care when comparing the earnings of employees in this publication with those prior to 2007.


31 From 2009, additional information relating to the number of hours that a respondent's last pay period covered in their main job was added to the imputation process.

32 Aside from the change in 2009, the current imputation method has been used since the 2005 survey. A similar method of imputation was used for the 2004 survey. The differences between the 2004 and the current imputation method are that donors are matched, where possible at a finer level of detail; and second job earnings are imputed whereas in 2004 they were not.

33 These changes in methodology were designed to improve the imputed earnings data at the unit record level, but have little impact on aggregate estimates.

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


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


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

37 Estimates of average weekly earnings from the publication Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0) excluded amounts salary sacrificed until May 2011, and since then, have been reported as Average Weekly Cash Earnings in the Average Weekly Earnings datacubes. From 2007, EEBTUM has included amounts salary sacrificed in the estimates of mean and median weekly earnings.

38 The Survey of Average Weekly Earnings excludes employees in the industries of Agriculture, forestry and fishing; and Private households employing staff. Both of these are included in the EEBTUM household survey and result in differences in earnings. The Survey of Average Weekly Earnings collects information from employers who complete a questionnaire with details of their employees' total gross earnings and their total number of employees. For EEBTUM, respondents are either interviewed personally, or another adult member of their household responds on their behalf. Where earnings are not known exactly an estimate is reported.

39 The methodology used in EEBTUM 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.


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

41 Prior to 1999, 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.

42 Results of previous surveys on employment benefits have been published in Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Australia, August 1997 (cat. no. 6310.0).

43 Information on trade union membership was first collected in 1976, then biennially in its current format, from 1986 to 1992. From 1994, it was conducted annually (with only limited data available every second year). Results of previous surveys were published in Labour Force, Australia, December 1994, December 1995 (cat. no. 6203.0).

44 Limited data on trade union membership have also been published in:


45 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely 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.



46 Tables contained in the publication are released in spreadsheet format. Additional tables are also available in spreadsheet format with time series data. These tables are made available with the publication from the ABS website.


47 Other publications which may be of interest include:

48 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the Statistics Page on the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.

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