6359.0 - Forms of Employment, Australia, November 2010 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/04/2011   
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From November 2008 the Forms of Employment Survey (FOES) definition of employees differs from the definition used in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and other household surveys (including earlier FOES) and employer surveys.

Forms of Employment Survey (from November 2008).
Employees are people who work for a public or private employer and receive remuneration in wages or salary. Employees are engaged under a contract of service (an employment contract) and take directions from their employer/supervisor/manager/foreman on how the work is performed.

Labour Force Survey and other household surveys (including FOES prior to 2008).
Employees are people who:

    • worked for a public or private employer; and
    • received remuneration in wages, salary, or are paid a retainer fee by their employer and worked on a commission basis, or for tips or piece-rates or payment in kind; or
    • operated their own incorporated enterprise with or without hiring employees.

Employer surveys. Employees are wage and salary earners who received pay for any part of the reference period.
    Independent Contractors

    Independent contractors are people who operate their own business and who contract to perform services for others without having the legal status of an employee, i.e. people who are engaged by a client, rather than an employer. Independent contractors are engaged under a contract for services (a commercial contract), whereas employees are engaged under a contract of service (an employment contract). Independent contractors' employment may take a variety of forms, for example, they may have a direct relationship with a client or work through an intermediary. Independent contractors may have employees, however they spend most of their time directly engaged with clients or on client tasks, rather than managing their staff.

    Other Business Operators

    People who operate their own business, with or without employees, but who are not operating as independent contractors. Other business operators are distinguished from independent contractors in that they generally generate their income from managing their staff or from selling goods or services to the public, rather than providing a labour service directly to a client. Other business operators spend little time working on client tasks with most of their time spent on managing their employees and/or business.