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6310.0 - Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, August 2009 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/05/2010   
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For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey collects a range of information about employees, including weekly earnings of employees, their leave entitlements (paid holiday, paid sick, paid long service and paid maternity/paternity leave), superannuation contributions made by employer on behalf of employee, benefits and trade union membership. The collection of a range of socio-demographic and labour force characteristics, makes the datasets produced from the survey extremely valuable for comparing and analysing the distribution of both weekly earnings and employment benefits 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 reliable source of data on the distribution of trade union members by socio-demographic and labour force characteristics.

The Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey is conducted annually in August as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey. The main products from the survey are the publication, Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia (cat. no. 6310.0), time series spreadsheets and a confidentialised unit record file (released every two years).


The publication and time series spreadsheets are released approximately eight months after the completion of enumeration in August. In applicable years, the confidentialised unit record file is released approximately 10 months after enumeration. The Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey will be conducted again in August 2010.


Estimates from the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors.

The Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey was designed primarily to provide estimates at the Australia level. Broad estimates are available for state and capital city/balance of state, though users should exercise caution when using estimates at this level because of the presence of high sampling errors. Relative Standard Errors for all estimates in the publication are available in the Technical Note.

As a result of the sample reductions in the Labour Force Survey, (see Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design, Nov 2007 (Second edition) (cat. no. 6269.0)) the sample for the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey was approximately one-third smaller than the sample size in August 2007. This has resulted in higher relative standard errors associated with the estimates.


The ABS has been conducting the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey since 1999. Prior to 1999 this publication was titled Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Australia ( 6310.0). Key changes made to the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey include:

  • 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.
  • Revisions were made in 2004 to population benchmarks for the Labour Force Survey and supplementary surveys to take account of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. Estimates from the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey conducted from and including February 2004 are based on the 2001 benchmarks.
  • Since August 2004, imputation has been used for cases where main job or second job earnings were not provided by the respondent. The current imputation method has been used since the 2005 survey.
  • In 2007, a change was made to the concept of earnings being measured to include amounts salary sacrificed. Employees are now asked to include salary sacrifice when estimating their earnings. In previous years this was not the case.
  • The 2009 Employee Benefits module of the EEBTUM survey was redeveloped to better capture information on current employment benefits received in the last 12 months, including transport to and from work, communication and/or IT devices and child care, as well as salary sacrifice arrangements.
  • Additional data items on employees' educational qualifications, as well as 'Whether paid a set amount or by the hour', 'Whether usually works paid or unpaid extra hours or overtime', and 'Whether paid full adult rate of pay', are also presented in the 2009 publication.
  • A new population, 'Employees who were trade union members', is included in the 2009 publication. This population provides information about employees who were members of a trade union, not necessarily in connection with their main job. Also included are new data items on trade union membership. These are 'Trade union membership', 'Length of current trade union membership', 'Duration since previously a trade union member' and 'Previous trade union membership'.
  • From 2009, additional information, relating to the number of hours that a respondent's last pay period covered in their main job, was used in the imputation process.

    For more information on changes to the survey see Chapter 21.2 of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).

    Employee earnings measures are also available from Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0) and Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia (cat. no. 6306.0).


    The Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership publication contains tables with footnoted data and a Summary of Findings to aid interpretation of the results of the survey. Detailed Explanatory Notes, Technical Note and a Glossary are also included providing information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.

    Further commentary is often available through articles and data published in other ABS products, including:
  • Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0) - refer to Appendix 2 for past articles.
  • Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0) - refer to the Cumulative list of articles for past articles.
  • Year Book, Australia (cat. no. 1301.0) - refer to the 'Labour' chapter.


    The main product from the survey is a PDF publication, Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia (cat. no. 6310.0), released electronically via the ABS website. Additional data may be available on request. For a list of data items available see Appendix 2 of the publication. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors, and in some cases, may result in data being confidentialised.

    Additional tables in spreadsheet format with time series data are also available from the ABS website.

    A confidentialised unit record file, containing Labour Force Survey data and Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey data is released every two years. The next CURF release is planned to occur in July 2011, based on August 2010 data. A full range of up-to-date information about the availability of ABS CURFs and about applying for access to CURFs is available via the ABS web site (see Services - CURF Microdata).

    For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Centre on 1300 135 070 or contact Labour Market Statistics on Canberra (02) 6252 7206, or by facsimile on (02) 6252 7102, or by email to <>.

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