The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) receives payroll information from businesses with Single Touch Payroll (STP) enabled payroll and accounting software each time the business runs its payroll. The ATO provides selected business and job level data items from the STP system to the ABS for the production of statistics.
Scope and coverage
The scope and coverage of these estimates are largely defined and constrained by the characteristics of the data sources from which these estimates are produced. As such, users should note that not all jobs and wages in the Australian labour market are captured within these estimates.
Payroll jobs as reported to the ATO through STP are in scope of these estimates. All payroll jobholders regardless of age or Australian residency status are included. Persons reported via STP must hold either a Tax File Number (TFN) or an Australian Business Number (ABN).
A payroll job is a relationship between an employee and their employing enterprise, where the employee is paid in the reference week through STP-enabled payroll or accounting software and reported to the ATO. Where an employee is paid other than weekly, the established payment pattern is used to include payroll jobs paid in weeks outside the reference week.
Payroll jobs reported via STP exclude owner managers of unincorporated enterprises (OMUEs), which are more prevalent in the Construction and Agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.
Employers with 20 or more employees (large employers) commenced transition to STP reporting on 1 July 2018. Employers with less than 20 employees (small employers) began transitioning to STP on 1 July 2019. Any reporting concessions that were made available for small employers ended on 30 June 2021. At the time of this release, almost all large employers and eligible small employers are reporting through STP.
In addition, payroll jobs reported in the Defence Industry (ANZSIC Class 7600) are excluded from these estimates by the ABS to better align with other Labour estimates.
The STP reported wages associated with each payroll job are in scope of these estimates. Wages are gross amounts, prior to taxation and deductions and include:
- salary payments and allowances,
- labour hire payments and foreign income,
- the value of payments in kind (where a fringe benefit amount is recorded),
- bonuses where they are reported in the same field as normal payments.
The total wages concept broadly aligns with the Australian System of National Accounts (ASNA) definition of wages and salaries, with the exception of payments to employee's superannuation and severance and termination payments which are excluded.
More specifically, the following STP reported income items are included in the production of wages estimates;
- gross income amount (including bonuses),
- allowance income,
- fringe benefit amount (reportable, taxable),
- fringe benefit amount (reportable, tax exempt),
- other income (not specified),
- foreign income amount including tax exempt income,
- Community Development Employment Project income.
Other data sources
The STP data are enhanced through combining other administrative data held by the ABS (also sourced from the Australian taxation system).
Sex, age and residential geography variables are primarily sourced from Client Register data (supplied by ATO to the ABS as part of the transfer of Personal Income Tax data). Sex can only be sourced from Client Register data. When age and residential geography are not available from Client Register data, they are sourced from STP data. The ABS receives annual snapshots of de-identified Client Register data from the ATO, for use in the production of statistics.
Industry of activity and employment size variables of the employing business are sourced from the ABS Business Register (ABSBR).