SURVEY OF AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS - HELP PAGE
This page contains information designed to help businesses understand and complete the questions asked on the biannual Survey of Average Weekly Earnings, week ending 17 November 2017. For general information about participation in business surveys, please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and for assistance with using the online survey web form, please see eSurvey - Help.
If your question about the Survey of Average Weekly Earnings is not answered on this page, or in the information provided on your web form, please contact the ABS on 1800 196 206 (Freecall excluding mobile phones).
Please note that an ABS officer may contact you for clarification on any data that you provide. This additional information helps to ensure that statistics produced by the ABS are fit for purpose and of a high quality.
How do I access the web form?
To access your web form you will need to log in to your Survey Account at - www.abs.gov.au/survey . If you do not have a Survey Account you will need to create one using your email address and a password of your choice. This survey can then be added to your Survey Account by entering the Form Access Code that is included in your letter from the ABS. If you have misplaced your letter, please call 1800 196 206 (free call excluding mobile phones) to request your access code.
Can I save an unfinished web form?
Yes, there is a functionality to save the web form when partially completed so you can return to it later. To do this simply click the Save and Exit button at the top of the form. This will save your form and exit you from the system. You will receive a confirmation message. You can then log back in to complete the survey at any time. Please be aware that, for security reasons, if there is inactivity on your computer for 20 minutes the web form will time out without saving.
Can I keep a record of my completed web form?
Yes, the ABS highly recommends that you keep a copy of your completed form for your own personal records.
- To print a copy of the form, click the Print button on the receipt pages.
- A sample version of the form is available to download by clicking Download Form from the navigation menu.
If you need assistance in completing the web form, or have difficulties doing so on or soon after the reference date, an extension of time may be available. Please call 1800 196 206 (free call excluding mobile phones) and advise our staff of your situation.
What is the survey reference period?
The reference period for the Survey of Average Weekly Earnings is the last pay period ending on or before 17 November 2017. If the pay period reported for is longer than a week (for example, fortnightly or monthly payrolls), please include only one week's portion of earnings. If your organisation has more than one payroll, please report for all payrolls of the organisation as outlined on the address label at the beginning of the form.
What if my business does not have any employees?
Some businesses operate without any employees (for example, businesses operated entirely by owners of unincorporated entities). In this case, please notify the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on 1800 196 206 (Freecall excluding mobile phones). In order for the ABS to determine the correct course of action for this business, you will be asked a few questions (for example, is there is any intention for the business to employ in the future?).
What if my business did not operate during the reference period (e.g. seasonal businesses)?
If the business you are reporting for has ceased operating or did not operate during the reference period please notify the ABS on 1800 196 206 (Freecall excluding mobile phones). In order for the ABS to determine the correct course of action for this business, you will be asked a few questions (for example, what is the seasonal pattern of the business or when did the business last operate?).
How was my business selected in the survey?
A sample of approximately 5,700 businesses is randomly selected on the Survey of Average Weekly Earnings. Selected businesses receive the survey questionnaire and represent other similar businesses in the same employment size range, broad industry, sector and state or territory. The sample is selected from the Australian Business Register which contains the names and addresses of all businesses that have registered an ABN with the Australian Taxation Office.
How long will I be on the survey?
The length of time you will be on the Survey of Average Weekly Earnings generally depends upon the size of your business. Some larger businesses will remain on the survey on an ongoing basis because of their significance to the survey results. Smaller businesses will generally be included in the biannual survey for approximately three years (meaning they will be required to complete approximately seven biannual questionnaires). However, there can be some exceptions to this rule. For example, where a small business has a significant impact on the survey results, these businesses may also be included in the survey on an ongoing basis.
What types of businesses are included in the survey?
The Survey of Average Weekly Earnings collects data from the public and private sectors, from businesses of varying employment sizes and from all industries except those engaged primarily in agriculture, forestry or fishing.
In addition, for a business to be included in the survey, it must employ staff that are within the scope of the survey. All wage and salary earners who received pay for last pay period ending on or before 17 November 2017 are considered in scope of the survey, excluding:
- members of the Australian permanent defence forces;
- employees of enterprises primarily engaged in agriculture, forestry or fishing;
- employees of private households;
- employees of overseas embassies, consulates, etc.;
- employees based outside of Australia;
- employees on workers' compensation who are not paid through the payroll;
- casual employees who did not receive pay during the reference period;
- employees on leave without pay who did not receive pay during the reference period;
- employees on strike, or stood down, who did not receive pay during the reference period;
- directors who are not paid a salary;
- proprietors/partners of unincorporated businesses;
- self-employed persons such as subcontractors, owner/drivers, consultants;
- persons paid solely by commission without a retainer; and
- employees paid solely under the Australian Government's Paid Parental Leave Scheme.
If you believe your business has been incorrectly included in the Survey of Average Weekly Earnings, please contact the ABS on 1800 196 206 (Freecall excluding mobile phones).
What is the purpose of the survey?
The survey is designed to provide an accurate estimate of the current average value of wages and salaries paid to employees by an employer over a specified period. The data produced by the survey is used by a large number of users in both Commonwealth and State Government departments, employer associations and trade unions. Uses of the data include:
- to adjust payments specified in both State and Federal Government Legislation;
- in escalation clauses in business contracts;
- in economic and labour market analysis by both government and private organisations; and
- in representations in the award and wage case submission process.
Data produced by the survey is published twice a year in Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0).
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
Number of employees
The number of employees is a count of all employees who received pay for any part of the last pay period ending on or before 17 November 2017. It excludes casual or seasonal employees who are on the payroll, but did not work during this pay period. Please report for all employees based in Australia on all payrolls under the business listed on the label on the front of the form.
If you are the owner-operator or partner of an unincorporated business, do not record yourself as an employee. A full list of employees to be included/excluded is provided on the survey web form above questions 1 and 2 - Number of employees.
For the purposes of the survey, employees are separated into Full-time adults and All other employees, as outlined in the following paragraphs.
Q1 Full-time adults - Number of employees
- are paid at the adult rate for their occupation OR are 21 years or older (for example, employees who are 18 years of age but are paid at the adult rate are included as Full-time adult);
- usually work the agreed or award hours for a full-time employee in their occupation or, where agreed or award hours do not apply, usually work more than 35 hours per week;
- include casuals/temporary staff who usually work more than 35 hours per week.
Q2 All other employees - Number of employees
All other employees are those that are not full-time adults as defined above for Q1. All other employees include employees that are:
- under 21 years of age (juniors) AND are not paid at the adult rate;
- part-time or casual employees who usually work less than 35 hours per week. (Note: do not include casuals who did not work during the reference period).
WEEKLY SALARY SACRIFICED EARNINGS
Weekly salary sacrificed earnings
Questions 3 and 4 collect the amount of weekly salary sacrificed earnings from pre-tax gross earnings, for the employees of this business as reported in questions 1 and 2. Salary sacrifice is defined as an arrangement where an employee agrees to forgo part of their pre-tax salary in return for benefits. Common types of salary sacrifice arrangements include pre-tax contributions to superannuation funds and novated leases for motor vehicles.
If amounts are for more than one week (for example, fortnightly or monthly payrolls), please report only one week's portion. Please include Fringe Benefits Tax incurred on benefits provided through a salary sacrifice arrangement, but exclude the value of fringe benefits (such as entertainment expenses) not provided through salary sacrifice arrangements.
For the purposes of the survey, salary sacrificed earnings are separated into Full-time adults and All other employees, as described under the Number of employees section above.
Q3 Full-time adults - Weekly salary sacrificed earnings
At Q3, please report the salary sacrificed earnings for all Full-time adult employees, as reported in Q1.
Q4 All other employees - Weekly salary sacrificed earnings
At Q4, please report the salary sacrificed earnings for all Other employees, as reported in Q2.
TAXABLE GROSS WEEKLY EARNINGS, INCLUDING OVERTIME
Taxable gross weekly earnings, including overtime
Questions 5 and 6 collect the total taxable gross weekly earnings, before taxation and any other deductions have been made, for the employees of this business as reported in questions 1 and 2. It includes overtime (which is also requested separately in question 7) and penalty and shift payments, but excludes salary sacrificed earnings (please report this only in questions 3 and 4). If amounts are for more than one week (for example, fortnightly or monthly payrolls), please report only one week's portion. A full list of what is to be included/excluded is provided on the survey form in questions 5 and 6 - Taxable gross weekly earnings, including overtime.
For the purposes of the survey, taxable gross weekly earnings are separated into Full-time adults and All other employees, as described under the Number of employees section above.
Q5 Full-time adults - Taxable gross weekly earnings, including overtime
At Q5, please report the taxable gross weekly earnings, including overtime, for all Full-time adult employees as reported in Q1.
Q6 All other employees - Taxable gross weekly earnings, including overtime
At Q6, please report the taxable gross weekly earnings, including overtime, for all Other employees as reported in Q2.
WEEKLY OVERTIME EARNINGS FOR FULL-TIME ADULT EMPLOYEES
Q7 Weekly overtime earnings for full-time adult employees
Q7 collects the amount of weekly overtime earnings for full-time adult employees as reported in Q1. Overtime earnings are defined as that part of taxable gross weekly earnings paid for hours worked in excess of award, ordinary or agreed hours of work. Overtime earnings are collected for full-time adults only and should represent one week's worth of overtime earnings only. If amounts are for more than one week (for example, fortnightly or monthly payrolls), please report only one week's portion.
Overtime earnings should also be included in Questions 5 and 6 - Taxable gross weekly earnings, including overtime.
Please include overtime paid at ordinary time rates and shift and penalty payments for overtime hours. Exclude shift and penalty payments for ordinary time hours worked.
The ABS is grateful for the cooperation of businesses in submitting completed forms promptly to enable early processing and timely release of results from our surveys. We look forward to your continued support.