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6310.0 - Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, Aug 1999  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/02/2000   
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  • Earnings growth continues and trade union membership still in decline (Media Release)

Earnings growth continues and trade union membership still in decline


The mean weekly earnings of Australians continues to grow, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Findings from Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia show that mean weekly earnings in all jobs increased by 5% from $596 in August 1998 to $624 in August 1999. Males recorded an increase in mean weekly earnings of $37 to $737 per week, whereas females recorded an increase of $19 to $491 per week. Average weekly earnings for full-time workers increased from $715 in August 1998 to $755 in August 1999 and from $257 to $267 for part-time workers.

The number of employees working part-time remained steady from August 1998 to August 1999 at 26% of all employees. Females continue to dominate the ranks making up 75% of all part-time employees (1,435,700).

The proportion of casual employees has decreased slightly. From August 1998 to August 1999 this proportion fell from 27% to 26%, to equal the 1997 figure. The majority of casual employees continued to be females (55% of casuals).

The number of trade union members has continued to decrease. There were 1.9 million trade union members in August 1999 making up 26% of all employees, down from 28% in August 1998 and 30% in August 1997. Nearly one-third (31%) of permanent employees were members of a trade union, compared to 11% of casuals.

The report also provides information on employment benefits available to employees. Employer-funded superannuation was paid to 89% of all employees in August 1999. This rate has not changed compared to August 1998, although ten years ago the rate was only 48%. In contrast, although sick and holiday leave entitlements have remained steady since 1998, both at 72%, they have both decreased since 1989 when they were 80% and 81% respectively.

Other types of employment benefits are now received by more employees than in the past. Ten percent of employees received a telephone benefit in August 1999, a slight increase from 8% in 1994, and the proportion of employees in receipt of shares rose to 6% in 1999, up from 2% in 1989 and 4% in 1994.

Copies of the publication Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, August 1999 (cat. no. 6310.0) are available from ABS Bookshops.

If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication telephone 02 6252 5249.

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