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Among the most common types of non-wage benefits received by employees are superannuation, holiday leave, sick leave and long-service leave. Data on these employment benefits are collected in the Survey of Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, covering the nature and type (but not the value) of benefits. These data are used to monitor the level of non-wage costs in employment.
Full-time and part-time public sector employees were more likely to be entitled to benefits than their private sector counterparts (graph 6.52). The differences between public and private sector employees were much smaller for full-time employees than for part-time employees.
Part-time private sector employees were most likely to receive superannuation (73%), followed by sick and holiday leave (both at 30%), and 26% were entitled to long-service leave. One-quarter of this group of employees were not entitled to any benefits. Part-time employees in the public sector were more likely to receive a range of employee benefits, with 90% entitled to superannuation and approximately 60% entitled to each of the other benefits (59%, 61% and 56%).
For all occupations, the proportion receiving sick leave was less than the proportion receiving superannuation benefits. However, there was considerable variation among the occupations. For most occupations, more than 90% of employees received superannuation benefits in their main job (graph 6.53). The exceptions were Elementary clerical, sales and service workers with 74% and Labourers and related workers with 80%. These two occupations were also less likely to receive sick leave (43% and 53%) than other occupations.
The incidence of entitlement to superannuation and sick leave is linked to the level of skill, with higher skilled occupations having a higher level of coverage for both superannuation and sick leave than lower skilled occupations.
Under the Superannuation Guarantee introduced in 1992, employers are obliged to make superannuation contributions on behalf of most employees. As seen in graph 6.51, this has resulted in an increase in superannuation coverage provided by employers. There are some exempt employees: for example, employers are not obliged to contribute to superannuation for employees aged less than 18 years who are working not more than 30 hours a week, or for employees with low earnings. Young part-time employees (aged 15-19) are often exempt employees under the Superannuation Guarantee legislation. This is reflected in estimates of superannuation coverage for August 2001 - 36% of males and 41% of females in this age group received superannuation benefits in their job. The lower coverage of superannuation for young employees is also the result of more young employees working in industries and occupations with lower wages (see table 6.16).
Graph 6.54 presents the proportion of employees entitled to superannuation in August 2001. Generally, the proportion of male and female full-time employees entitled to superannuation was similar, with females having slightly higher coverage in the 20-24 year and 55-59 year age groups. The proportion of male and female full-time employees entitled to superannuation was higher than that of their part-time counterparts. While 75% of part-time employees receive superannuation benefits, 96% of full-time employees were entitled to superannuation benefits.
Male and female full-time employees receive superannuation benefits from their employer at the same rate, but part-time males are less likely to receive superannuation (63%) than their female counterparts (80%). In each age group, females working part-time were more likely to be entitled to superannuation benefits than males working part-time. In the 65 and over age group, 66% of females and 42% of males were entitled to superannuation benefits, although this age group represented less than 1% of the population (73,700 employees).
The degree of superannuation coverage provided by employers continued to increase between 1996 and 2001, and across industries. In 2001, superannuation was provided to 99% of persons employed in Mining, while 80% were covered in Accommodation, cafes and restaurants and 77% in Retail trade (graph 6.55). Accommodation, cafes and restaurants, and Retail trade also have the lowest average earnings (see graph 6.45).
Other employee benefits
Similar proportions of employees are entitled to paid sick leave and paid holiday leave (72%). However, long-service leave is less commonly offered by employers (61.8% of employees) (table 6.56).
The total number of employees receiving leave benefits fell between 1996 and 2001, although full-time employees were still more likely to receive these benefits than part-time employees. Sick and holiday leave benefits were available to 87% of full-time employees and 75% received long-service leave. The proportion of part-time employees receiving benefits rose between 1996 and 2001, from 31% to 34% for those receiving holiday and sick leave benefits and from 26% to 31% for those receiving long-service leave benefits.
Fewer females are entitled to leave benefits (i.e. sick leave and/or holiday leave) in their main job. However, full-time females are more likely to receive leave benefits than full-time males (90% compared to 86%), and part-time females are more likely to receive leave entitlements than part-time males (41% compared to 19%).