6310.0 - Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, Aug 2007 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/04/2008   
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For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey collects a range of information about employees, including weekly earnings of employees, their leave entitlements (paid holiday, paid sick, long service and paid maternity/paternity leave), superannuation coverage and trade union membership.

Information about employees earnings include:

    • mean weekly earnings which is the amount obtained by dividing the total earnings of a group by the number of employees in that group
    • median weekly earnings which is the amount that divides the distribution of employees into two equal groups, one having earnings above and the other below that amount.


The Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey is conducted annually during August as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Results from this survey are released approximately eight months after the completion of enumeration (i.e. during April) in the publication, Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia (cat. no. 6310.0) and associated spreadsheets.


Estimates from the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. Relative standard error (RSE) is a measure of the size of the sampling error affecting an estimate, i.e. the error introduced by basing estimates on a sample of the population rather than the full population. Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, and errors made in coding and processing data.

The Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey was designed primarily to provide estimates at the Australia level. Broad estimates are available for state and capital city/balance, though users should exercise caution when using estimates at this level because of the presence of high sampling errors. RSEs for all estimates in the publication are available in the Technical Note.


The collection of a range of socio-demographic and labour force characteristics makes the datasets produced from the survey extremely valuable for comparing and analysing the distribution of both weekly earnings and employment benefits across employees. Data are used in the development and review of wages and labour market policies, and in wage negotiation processes. The survey is the only reliable source of data on the distribution of trade union members by socio-demographic and labour force characteristics.

The ABS has been conducting the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey since 1999. Prior to 1999 this publication was titled Weekly Earnings of Employees (Distribution), Australia cat.no.(6310.0). Key changes made to the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey include:
    • A change was made in 2002 to the method used to determine whether an employee works full-time or part-time in their main job.
    • Revisions were made in 2004 to population benchmarks for the Labour Force Survey and supplementary surveys in 2004 to take account of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. Estimates from supplementary surveys conducted from and including February 2004 are based on the revised benchmarks.
    • In 2007, a change was made to the concept of earnings being measured to include amounts salary sacrificed. Employees are now asked to include salary sacrifice when estimating their earnings. In previous years this was not the case.

For more information on changes to the survey see Chapter 21.2 of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).


The Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership publication contains tables with footnoted data and a Summary of Findings to aid interpretation of the results of the survey. Detailed Explanatory Notes, Technical Note and a Glossary are also included providing information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.

Further commentary is often available through articles and data published in other ABS products, including:

The main product from the survey is a PDF publication, Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia (cat. no. 6310.0), released electronically via the ABS website. Additional data may be available on request. For a list of data items available see Appendix 2 of the publication. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors, and in some cases, may result in data being confidentialised.

Additional tables in spreadsheet format with time series data are also available from the ABS website.

Employee earnings measures are also available from Average Weekly Earnings (cat. no. 6302.0) and Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0).

For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Centre on 1300 135 070 or the Labour Market Section in Canberra on (02) 6252 7206.