4913.0 - Pregnancy and Employment Transitions, Australia , Nov 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/10/2006  First Issue
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1 This publication provides summary information compiled from the Pregnancy and Employment Transitions Survey (PaETS), conducted throughout Australia in November 2005 as a supplement to the Monthly Population Survey (MPS). The survey collected information from birth mothers aged 15 years and over, usually resident in private dwellings in Australia, with at least one child less than two years of age living with them at the time of interview. The information collected included the mother's age, marital and employment status, the leave arrangements associated with the birth of their most recent child under two years of age, and where appropriate, reasons for commencing employment after that most recent birth.


Scope and coverage

2 Apart from the scope restrictions relating to adult birth mothers aged 15 years and over, which excluded women not living with their natural child at the time of interview, the survey also excluded from both interview and from the survey estimation benchmarks:

  • women who were members of the Australian permanent defence forces;
  • women living in non-private dwellings; and
  • women living in very remote areas of Australia.

3 The exclusion of women living in very remote parts of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey will only have a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, except the Northern Territory where such women account for over 20% of the total female population.

4 Women living in Indigenous communities where a short MPS form was administered were excluded from enumeration in PaETS, but such women living in other than very remote areas are represented in survey benchmarks for estimation purposes.

5 In addition, for those women whose partner at the time of interview was out of the survey on scope or coverage (e.g. the partner was in the permanent defence forces), the current labour force status of the partner is not determined.

Sample design

6 The sample for PaETS is a sub-sample of about 26,000 private dwellings included in the ABS Monthly Population Survey (MPS) in November 2005. The MPS sample is a multistage selection of private dwellings and a list sample of non-private dwellings.

7 The final sample on which estimates are based is composed of 1,515 birth mothers aged 15 years and over, usually resident in private dwellings in Australia, with at least one child less than two years of age living with them at the time of interview and for whom most of the information being sought at interview was obtained.

Data collection

8 Information was collected over a two-week period during November 2005 via computer assisted personal interviewing of birth mothers, where responses were recorded directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a notebook computer. The majority of interviews for the survey were conducted via telephone, with some face-to-face interviews. Where more than one birth mother was present in a selected dwelling, separate interviews were conducted with each mother.

9 Birth mothers were asked a range of questions regarding their work and leave arrangements during and after pregnancy. In the case of women living with a partner during pregnancy, additional information was collected regarding the partner's leave and work arrangements.

10 Where the birth mother had more than one child aged under two years living with her, information was sought regarding the work and leave arrangements relating to the youngest child (i.e. the most recent pregnancy).


11 The PaETS estimates are compiled using initial weights, based on probabilities of selection, benchmarked to independently estimated numbers of:

  • women in the age ranges 15-19 years, 20-24 years, 25-34 years, 35-44 years, 45-49 years, and 50+ years;
  • marital status;
  • state or territory of usual residence; and
  • area of usual residence (Capital city, Balance of state/territory).

12 These benchmarks excluded women living in non-private dwellings or in very remote areas.

13 PaETS estimates were not benchmarked to independent estimates of the numbers of children aged two years or less at the time of the survey.


14 Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling error.

  • Sampling error is the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all birth mothers of children aged under two years of age had been included in the survey. For further information on sampling error, refer to the Technical Note.
  • Non-sampling errors arise through, among other things: inaccuracies in reporting by respondents, errors in question wording; misunderstanding of what data are required; inability or unwillingness to provide information; 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 non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers and efficient processing procedures.

Non-sampling error

15 Some respondents were unwilling or unable to provide the required information for several of the Pregnancy and Employment Transitions Survey data items (item non-response). In some cases, survey methodology resulted in some information not being sought from some respondents. Regardless of the reason for missing responses for data items, they have been recorded in a 'could not be determined', 'don't know' or 'not stated' category for that data item.

16 The most significant item non-response affects the household income item, with 18% of records missing data (almost entirely due to non-response).

17 The next most significant item affected by missing data is leave entitlements in main job while pregnant (8%). Depending on the employment arrangements of individual respondents, details of leave entitlements were collected either in the PaETS or drawn from responses to the Locations of Work (LOW) supplementary survey which was also conducted in November 2005. For some respondents who worked in their own business or who were on leave from their job in the week prior to interview, errors in questionnaire design meant that leave entitlement information was inadvertently not collected in PaETS even though it was also excluded from the scope of LOW.

18 For most other data items, the rates of missing data for item non-response or instrument error are relatively low. The table below shows the number of women and the proportion where information could not be determined for some Pregnancy and Employment Transitions data items.



Leave entitlements in last main job before the birth
Sector of employment in last main job before the birth
Number of employees in workplace in last main job before the birth
Sector of employment in first main job after the birth
Equivalised household weekly income
Whether partner took leave for birth

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use
(a) Proportion of population of interest (i.e. excluding not applicable).


19 Information for some data items, such as 'Whether had leave entitlements' and 'Difficulties experienced in workplace', was not collected for women who operated a business in their main job.

20 Time away is the only leave type available to unincorporated business owners. In publication tables 'Time away' has generally been grouped with Unpaid maternity leave.

21 Tables 13-16 present various data in respect of women who have either entered or returned to the workforce following the birth of their child. These relate only to women who at the date of interview were no longer on leave for the birth.


22 Occupation data are classified according to the ASCO - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition, 1997 (cat. no. 1220.0).

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

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

25 Area data (Capital city, Balance of state/territory) are classified according to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2005 (cat. no. 1216.0).


26 ABS surveys 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.


27 Other ABS publications which may be of interest include:

  • Australian Demographic Statistics, cat. no. 3101.0, issued quarterly
  • Australian Social Trends, 2006, cat. no. 4102.0
  • Births, Australia, cat. no. 3301.0, issued annually
  • Child Care, Australia, June 2005, cat. no. 4402.0
  • Census of Population and Housing, 2001, Selected Social and Housing Characteristics, cat. no. 2015.0
  • Family Characteristics, Australia, June 2003, cat. no. 4442.0
  • Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2001 to 2026, cat. no. 3236.0
  • How Australians Use Their Time, 1997, cat. no. 4153.0
  • Labour Force, Australia, cat. no. 6202.0, issued monthly
  • Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Annual, June 2004, cat. no. 6291.0.55.001, (Family Data cubes FA1-FA5)
  • Marriages, Australia, 2004, cat. no. 3306.0.55.001
  • Working Arrangements, Australia, November 2003, cat. no. 6342.0

28 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 <https://www.abs.gov.au> (Statistics). The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site (Future Releases) which details products to be released in the week ahead.