6105.0 - Australian Labour Market Statistics, July 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/02/2014   
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The ABS Labour Statistics program describes the working arrangements of employed people, including full-time/part-time status, and entitlement to forms of leave, which is used as a proxy for casual status. Whether a person is employed on a full-time or part-time basis differs from, and is independent of, entitlements to leave (or casual employment). Full-time/part-time status is based on the number of hours usually or actually worked, and casual employment is characterised by the nature of the employment contract. An employee can be full-time and casual, or part-time and casual.


People are defined as employed part-time in the ABS Labour Force Survey (LFS) if they usually work less than 35 hours per week, and actually did so in the reference week for the survey, or usually work less than 35 hours per week and were away from work. Those people usually or actually working 35 hours or more per week are defined as employed full-time. Part-time employment is defined solely on the basis of hours worked, and does not depend on employee or employer perception of whether the person is full-time or part-time. Data by full-time/part-time status are available monthly in the Labour Force Survey.


Casual employment is not currently collected in the LFS. The ABS has three data items related to casual employment, currently collected annually in supplementary labour surveys:

    • Employees without leave entitlements;
    • Employees who receive a casual loading; and
    • Employees who consider their job to be casual (self-perception).

Leave Entitlements
The ABS uses 'employees without paid leave entitlements' as the primary measure of casual employment. This is an objective measure that can be collected consistently. An employee with paid leave entitlements has access to either paid holiday leave or paid sick leave, or both. An employee is considered to be without leave entitlements if they identify as not having access to both paid sick leave and holiday leave, or did not know their entitlements.

Casual Loading
In lieu of paid leave, some casual employees are entitled to a 'casual loading' - a higher hourly rate of pay to compensate for not being entitled to paid holiday and/or sick leave1. Survey respondents are asked whether they receive a casual loading. However, around one-third of respondents report not receiving a casual loading, despite being without leave entitlements. This may be the case, or may reflect a lack of awareness that a loading is included in their pay. In some households, responses are provided by one member of the household on behalf of other members, and the respondent may be unaware of whether a casual loading is paid to the other household members.

The third data item used to consider casual employment is whether the survey participant considers their job to be casual. This question is asked in order to provide a different perspective of casual employment. Casual work is often viewed as less secure than other types of employment, as there may not be a guarantee of ongoing work, and hours of work may vary based on availability of hours offered by the employer. These are common characteristics of casual employment2, but they apply to casual workers to varying degrees, and may also apply to non-casual workers. An employee's perception of whether or not their job is casual may be based on commonly recognised features of casual employment such as these, and may or may not reflect the actual conditions of their employment. For example, an employee may perceive that they are guaranteed a minimum workload per week, but this may not align with their employer's understanding.

Despite variability in the experience of casual employment, 96% of respondents' own perception of their casual status aligns with whether they have access to leave entitlements. This indicates that access to leave entitlements as a measure of casual status provides a definition that is broadly aligned with a general understanding of casual employment.


For further discussion on the impact of different definitions of casual employment, see the feature article 'Measures of Casual Employment' in Australian Labour Market Statistics, October 2008 (cat. no. 6105.0). For data on casual employment, see , Forms of Employment (cat. no. 6359.0), Employees Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership (cat. no. 6310.0), or Working Time Arrangements (cat. no. 6342.0). Data on casual status based on leave entitlements (as described above) will also be available quarterly in the Labour Force Survey from mid-2015.

1Fair Work Ombudsman, 2012, 'Casual Employees', fairwork.gov.au
2For details, see Working Time Arrangements (cat. no. 6342.0)