Responding to the Wage Price Index Survey

Frequently Asked Questions


The Wage Price Index survey (WPI) is conducted every quarter with businesses throughout Australia. Information from this survey is used to construct the Wage Price Index, which measures the quarterly change in the price of wages and salaries.

Your participation in this survey provides us with data that is essential for calculating Australia’s major economic statistics, which enable industry, business and government to make informed decisions.

Click the button below to complete the survey online.



Need to contact us about completing your Wage Price Index survey?

Use our Business Survey Contact form to outline the details of your query and provide your contact details.


About this survey
How to complete this survey

Information about the questions in this survey

Using WPI statistics

About this survey

What kinds of questions are asked in WPI?

The WPI survey collects a range of payroll information each quarter including details of payments made to the occupants of selected jobs, with these jobs tracked in successive quarters, whether the individuals in the jobs are the same or not. WPI questions relate to the number of hours worked by the job occupant, the rate paid in the specified pay period, and information related to any change in the pay rate.

Why has this business been included in WPI?

The WPI survey is answered by a randomly selected group of businesses that represent the wider Australian business community at the state, industry and sector levels. A two stage method is used to generate a sample of employee jobs for the WPI. The first stage selects a sample of organisations whilst in the second stage, a sample of employee jobs are selected from within these organisations.

For more information on business selection please see WPI: Concepts, Sources and Method 2012 (cat. no. 6351.0.55.001) Chapter 6 "Sampling"

How is the information from this survey used? Why is it important?

Results from the WPI survey are used to construct the Wage Price Index, which measures the quarterly change in the price of wages and salaries. Your participation in this survey provides us with data that is essential for calculating Australia’s major economic statistics, which enable industry, business and government to make informed decisions.

WPI statistics are drawn upon by a wide variety of individuals and organisations in both the public and private sector, with major users including:

  • Reserve Bank of Australia
  • The ABS' National Accounts
  • The Australian Government Treasury and the states/territories treasuries
  • State and Commonwealth Government departments and agencies
  • Industry organisations and associations
  • Market analysts and economists

Do we have to answer the questions?

Yes. The questions included in this survey are being asked under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905, which has provisions to make surveys compulsory. Under the Act, you are obliged to provide the information being requested. All the information you provide will remain strictly confidential.

How long will we need to participate in this survey?

The length of time that a business is selected in any particular survey will depend on factors such as the size of the business, the number of businesses with similar characteristics, and how significant the activities of the business are to the overall results.

Smaller organisations will generally be included in the quarterly survey for approximately five years, while some larger organisations will remain on the survey on an ongoing basis because of their significance to the survey results. However, there can be some exceptions to this rule. For example, where a small organisation has a significant impact on the survey results, these organisations may also be included in the survey on an ongoing basis. Larger businesses have a high chance of selection in multiple ABS business surveys. Due to their significant contribution to the overall survey results, they will usually remain in a survey on an ongoing basis.

Where possible, we use data from existing administrative data sources to replace, or reduce, direct data collection from smaller businesses.

Do we have to provide figures for this survey right now?

Yes. The WPI survey collects data at a set reference date each quarter to provide a consistent snapshot in time across the Australian economy. The industry, business and government users of WPI statistics need the most accurate and timely information possible so they can make well-informed decisions which impact Australian businesses and communities.

How will the information we provide be kept safe, secure, and confidential?

We take the security of the information you provide to us very seriously. Your information remains strictly confidential to the ABS. The information is used to calculate statistics and these are released in ways that do not allow identification of businesses or organisations.

All ABS employees have signed a legally enforceable Undertaking of Fidelity and Security in which they agree to keep any information, including personal information which they may deal with in the course of their work, private and confidential. This agreement applies to ABS employees for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the ABS. The penalty for breaching this is two years jail, a $21,600 fine, or both.

We comply with the Australian Privacy Principles. If you believe we have breached these principles, please see the information on how to lodge a complaint about privacy matters, contained within our privacy policy.

Will we be paid for our time?

No. There is no provision within the Census & Statistics Act 1905 to reimburse businesses for the cost of providing statistical information. In line with other national statistical organisations throughout the world, individuals, businesses and other organisations are asked to supply information for statistical purposes without compensation. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.

We have already completed WPI this quarter and have received a reminder letter. What should we do?

If you have received a reminder letter or email about completing the WPI it is likely that you have returned the survey at the same time that we issued the reminder letter or email. If you wish to confirm this, please call one of our team on 1800 238 335 and we will check the information against our records.

How to complete this survey

How do we answer WPI?

For this survey, you should have received a letter with a Form Access Code to access your survey form online. You can then set up, or log in to your ABS Survey Account and add your Form Access Code to access the survey form. The same account can be used for other ABS surveys.

Your account is a secure service that allows a survey to be accessed as many times as is needed before final submission. After submission of a survey, you will not be able to access the contents. If you are concerned that you have provided incorrect information, please call us on 1800 238 335 and one of our team will be happy to assist you.

If you are unable to complete your survey online, or have not received the letter we sent you, please call us on 1800 238 335 and one of our team will be happy to assist you.

We’re having trouble completing the survey online – where can we find help?

For more information on completing our surveys online, help is available on our Survey Account Help page. This page provides assistance with technical difficulties and includes frequently asked questions which assist in creating and using the ABS Survey Account.

If you are having trouble creating or accessing your account, completing the survey online, or haven't received your Form Access Code, please call us on 1800 238 335 and one of our team will be happy to assist you.

If you would like more general information about participating in one of our surveys, please see our Survey Participant Information page.

Information about the questions in this survey

How accurate do the figures need to be?

We require information to be as accurate as possible. The information supplied by your business is used to produce statistics for all organisations within the same industry operating in Australia. The more accurate the figures you supply, the more accurate the statistics will be. However, if accurate data is not readily available, careful estimates will be accepted.

What if my business does not have any employees?

Some businesses operate without any employees. In this case, please call one of our team on 1800 238 335 and we will assist you.

If my business is not currently operating due to COVID-19 and employees have been stood down, or has retained staff critical to the organisation's function and other staff no longer working have been stood down, do I still need to complete the WPI form?

Yes. If you intend to operate the business after the shutdown, please follow the questions as usual on the form.

For those jobs where staff have been stood down, the survey questions will sequence you through to allow you to reflect each job situation. If a job is not expected to continue in the next six months, please supply a response to explain in the comments box provided.

You can also use the final comments box in the form to tell us about the business now and expectations for the next quarter.

The main business activity has changed as a result of COVID-19. I still have employees listed in the form working, but they are now doing other work. What should I report?

The WPI survey follows the job each quarter, and not the employee. If you previously reported for a job where the employee has moved on to do other work, please complete the existing form noting the intention for that job to be occupied in the next 6 months.

For each job, if the pay rate has changed as a result of COVID-19, please report the change and note the reason for the pay change in 'Other'. Please specify: e.g. JobKeeper Payment.

How do I report the JobKeeper Payment for working employees?

Please report the ordinary time pay rate including the JobKeeper Payment.

Ordinary time earnings may include:

    • a combination of the JobKeeper Payment and wages ‘topped-up' by the employer to pay the usual base hourly rate.
    • JobKeeper Payment only.

For each job, if the pay rate has changed as a result of COVID-19, please report the change and note the reason for the pay change in 'Other'. Please specify: e.g. JobKeeper Payment.

Employees are being paid the JobKeeper Payment but not working any hours. What should I report?

The WPI survey follows the job each quarter, and not the employee. If you previously reported for a job where the employee has been stood down and getting JobKeeper Payment, please report the job as ‘Occupied’ and complete the form, noting ‘0’ hours worked and the JobKeeper Payment as a ‘Piece Rate ‘ in the ordinary time pay rate question.

For each job, if the pay rate has changed as a result of COVID-19, please report the change and note the reason for the pay change in 'Other'. Please specify e.g. JobKeeper Payment.

Using WPI statistics

How can this business use WPI statistics?

We provide statistics free of charge on our website. Statistics produced from the WPI survey are published quarterly on the ABS website, in Wage Price Index, Australia.

How can we provide feedback about our involvement in WPI?

If you have participated in this survey, or any of our other surveys, we want to hear about your experience. We value your feedback and will use it to improve how we work with our survey participants.

You can use our feedback form to provide us with feedback. For this survey, please select the option "Participation in an ABS Business Survey".

Who can we contact for more information?

For help, or more information about this survey, please call us on 1800 238 335 during business hours. For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will call you back.

You can also use our online Business Survey Contact form to outline the details of your situation and your contact details, and we will be in touch.