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COVID-19: Impacts on casual workers in Australia—a statistical snapshot

8 May 2020

PDF version [414KB]

Geoff Gilfillan
Statistics and Mapping

Executive summary

  • There were just over 2.6 million casual workers employed in Australia in August 2019 who accounted for 24.4 per cent of all employees. Tasmania had the highest casual employee share of total employees in August 2019 (at 28.3 per cent) while the Northern Territory had the lowest casual share at 21.2 per cent.
  • Retail trade and Accommodation and food services account for a large proportion of all casual workers across Australia. Large numbers of casual workers are also employed in social assistance services, construction, health, education, road transport and other service industries.
  • The predominant occupations for casual workers are sales assistants and salespersons, hospitality workers, carers and aides, sales support workers and food preparation assistants.
  • Short-term policy measures have been introduced by the Australian Government to protect people who work in businesses and industry sectors affected by decisions to reduce social gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19. These include:
    • A JobKeeper Payment of $1,500 per fortnight paid to employees who have lost their job due to significantly reduced sales turnover at their place of employment.
    • A JobSeeker Payment is available for short-term casual workers who have lost their job and satisfy eligibility requirements. The payment includes a $550 fortnightly Coronavirus supplement.
  • In August 2019 just over one million casual employees had been with their current employer for less than 12 months. Just under 80 per cent of this group expected to be with their current employer in a year’s time.
    • 46.3 per cent of casual employees in Accommodation and Food Services had been with their current employer for less than 12 months along with 36.8 per cent of casual employees in Retail Trade and 33.9 per cent of employees in Arts and Recreation Services.
  • Young people are more likely to be short-term casuals.
    • 489,300 or 26.4 per cent of employees aged 15 to 24 years were casual workers who had been with their current employer for less than 12 months. This compares with 294,600 or only 6.5 per cent of employees aged 25 years and over.
    • Young people accounted for 46.0 per cent of short-term casual employees in August 2019 which compares with their 17.4 per cent share of all employees.

Contents

Executive summary
Introduction

Protections provided to casual workers following the COVID-19 outbreak
What is a casual worker and where are they employed?
Duration of casual employees with current employer 

Conclusion

Introduction

This statistical snapshot builds on the earlier version released in late March 2020 by including information on Government policy responses to COVID-19 in the form of the new JobsSeeker and JobKeeper payments. The snapshot also provides information on how casual workers will be protected if the business in which they work has been affected by decisions to limit social gatherings and enforce social distancing.

Protections provided to casual workers following the COVID-19 outbreak

The Government has introduced temporary measures to protect the incomes of workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. These include:

  • the JobKeeper Payment wage subsidy to enable businesses significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak to continue paying their employees. The subsidy will cover casual employees who have been employed for 12 months or more.
  • a $550 per fortnight Coronavirus Supplement for recipients of JobSeeker Payment and other eligible payment categories. This will provide extra support for some casual employees who experience a loss of pay due the outbreak and are not eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.

The JobKeeper Payment

The JobKeeper Payment allows eligible employers to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020 for a maximum of six months. These employers can claim the payment for both part-time and full-time employees. However, they can only claim the payment for casual employees if they have employed the person for 12 months or more and the employee is not a permanent employee of another employer.[1] Around 59 per cent of casual employees have been with their current employer for 12 months or more (see table 5).

Employers eligible for the JobKeeper Payment include businesses:

  • with a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
  • with a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
  • not subject to the Major Bank Levy.[2]

Charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission will be eligible for the JobSeeker Payment if they estimate their GST turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 15 per cent or more relative to a comparable period. This separate measure of revenue decline does not apply to universities and non-government schools registered as charities.

Casual workers that have been with their current employer for less than 12 months and lost their job due to COVID-19 and satisfy other eligibility requirements would be eligible for the JobSeeker Payment and Coronavirus Supplement.

Income support measures

Casual workers who lose work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak may be able to take advantage of temporary changes to the income support system. For example, from 25 March 2020 expanded eligibility to access the JobSeeker Payment (formerly Newstart Allowance) and Youth Allowance will be provided for a six month period to those who are stood down from their jobs, sole traders, self-employed persons, casual or contract workers whose income has reduced as a result of COVID-19, and those who need to care for someone affected by coronavirus.[3] 

Normally, a person must be unemployed or temporarily unable to work due to illness or a medical condition to be eligible for these payments. Some waiting periods will be waived in order to speed up receipt of the allowance.[4] The assets test will be waived and an exemption from mutual obligation requirements to look for work has been put in place until 27 April 2020.[5]

The Government also established a new, time-limited Coronavirus Supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment and other eligible payment categories and will be paid from 27 April 2020.[6]

Casual employees in the Australian Public Service

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has extended paid sick leave entitlements to cover more than 7,800 casual APS employees[7]who may be forced to miss work due to being diagnosed with COVID-19 or being forced to self-isolate due to exposure to the virus.

Due to the current extraordinary circumstances of the outbreak and the potential widespread impact, paid arrangements should also be extended to casual employees who are required to isolate due to COVID-19 exposure or who contract the virus. This exceptional measure is in place for the duration of the pandemic until advised by the Australian Government Department of Health. This is to minimise any incentive for employees to attend the workplace against medical advice and to minimise exposure to the public. Agencies should ensure that paid arrangements to enable absence, such as paid Discretionary Leave (or equivalent), are in place to allow casual employees to self-isolate when required to do so by the relevant health authority. [8]

The APSC has not extended the paid leave provisions to contractors or labour hire employees providing services to the Australian Government.

What is a casual worker and where are they employed?

Casual workers do not have access to paid leave entitlements (such as paid holiday and sick leave)[9], but are paid a loading, set usually between 20 and 25 per cent (depending upon the Award or Enterprise Agreement), on top of their hourly wage rate, to compensate them for the lack of access to paid leave entitlements.

There were just over 2.6 million casual workers employed in Australia in August 2019. The casual share of total employees increased slightly from 23.5 per cent in August 2012 to 25.1 per cent in August 2019 but has since fallen marginally to 24.4 per cent in August 2019.

Figure 1—casual share of total employees in Australia, 2004 to 2019

Figure 1 - casual share of total employees in Australia

Source: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, Table 1b.3

Just over three quarters (75.6 percent) of employees in Australia in August 2019 were employees with access to paid leave entitlements or permanent employees.

The following table shows Tasmania had the highest casual employee share of total employees in August 2019 (at 28.3 per cent). This compares with a 21.2 per cent casual share in the Northern Territory and 21.5 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory.

Table 1—casual employees by State/Territory, August 2019

State/Territory Number of casual employees Permanent employees Total employees Casual share of total employees
  (‘000) (%)
New South Wales 831.4 2 613.1 3 444.5 24.1
Victoria 651.9 2 161.8 2 813.7 23.2
Queensland 530.4 1 544.5 2 075.0 25.6
South Australia 185.8 514.8 700.6 26.5
Western Australia 274.6 845.0 1 119.6 24.5
Tasmania 59.1 149.9 209.0 28.3
Northern Territory 24.4 91.0 115.4 21.2
Aust. Capital Territory 44.1 161.1 205.2 21.5
Australia 2 601.8 8 081.2 10 683.0 24.4

Source: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, Table 1b.3

Retail and Acommodation and food services account for a large proportion of all casual workers across Australia. However, there are large numbers of casual workers employed in social assistance services, construction, health, education, road transport and other service industries.

Table 2 ranks the number of casual workers in each sector from highest to lowest and has been restricted to those sectors that employ 10,000 casual workers or more.

Table 2—ranking of casual employees by industry sector in Australia, August 2019

Industry sector of main job (Australia) Number of casual employees Permanent employees Total employees Casual share of total employees
  (‘000) (%)
Food and Beverage Services 467.3 258.4 725.7 64.4
Other Store-Based Retailing 230.4 363.3 593.7 38.8
Food Retailing 163.0 205.1 368.1 44.3
Social Assistance Services[10] 125.9 307.5 433.4 29.0
Construction Services 125.1 303.4 428.5 29.2
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (Except Computer System Design and Related Services) 94.9 564.4 659.3 14.4
Medical and Other Health Care Services 90.6 304.8 395.4 22.9
Preschool and School Education 90.2 574.7 664.9 13.6
Road Transport 65.1 159.6 224.7 29.0
Personal and Other Services 58.3 116.6 174.9 33.3
Building Cleaning, Pest Control and Other Support Services 58.2 81.8 140.0 41.6
Administrative Services 57.6 148.9 206.5 27.9
Food Product Manufacturing 57.2 125.4 182.6 31.3
Sports and Recreation Activities 55.8 52.7 108.5 51.4
Building Construction 50.2 162.1 212.3 23.6
Adult, Community and Other Education 50.1 91 141.1 35.5
Tertiary Education 48.5 192.9 241.4 20.1
Hospitals 48.2 425 473.2 10.2
Public Administration 46.2 532.2 578.4 8.0
Residential Care Services 44.5 214.5 259 17.2
Agriculture 43.4 60.4 103.8 41.8
Accommodation 33.7 42.4 76.1 44.3
Repair and Maintenance 30.8 136.6 167.4 18.4
Postal and Courier Pick-up and Delivery Services 27.1 42.2 69.3 39.1
Public Order, Safety and Regulatory Services 25.7 156.0 181.7 14.1
Property Operators and Real Estate Services 23.5 106.2 129.7 18.1
Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction 19.8 71.9 91.7 21.6
Finance 16.7 156.2 172.9 9.7
Other Goods Wholesaling 16.2 54.7 70.9 22.8
Grocery, Liquor and Tobacco Product Wholesaling 13.8 42.9 56.7 24.3
Warehousing and Storage Services 13.8 50.6 64.4 21.4
Metal Ore Mining 13.6 96.1 109.7 12.4
Basic Material Wholesaling 13.1 69.1 82.2 15.9
Primary Metal and Metal Product Manufacturing 11.9 51.9 63.8 18.7
Motion Picture and Sound Recording Activities 11.5 15.1 26.6 43.2
Fuel Retailing 10.9 51.4 62.3 38.1
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing 10.9 17.7 28.6 17.5
Computer System Design and Related Services 10.4 203.6 214 4.9
Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing 10.3 83.5 93.8 11.0
Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services 10.1 34.5 44.6 22.6

Source: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, using TableBuilder

The following table show in which occupations casual workers are predominantly employed including occupations such as Sales assistants and salespersons, Hospitality workers, Carers and aides, Sales support workers and Food preparation assistants. The table ranks the number of casual workers in each occupational category from highest to lowest, and has been restricted to occupations that have 10,000 casual workers or more.

Table 3—ranking of casual employees by occupation in Australia, August 2019

Occupation of main job (Australia) Number of casual employees Permanent employees Total employees Casual share of total employees
  (‘000) (%)
Sales Assistants and Salespersons 274.5 315.6 590.1 46.3
Hospitality Workers 229.9 65.3 295.2 78.0
Carers and Aides 179.6 387.1 566.7 31.7
Sales Support Workers 149.3 100.8 250.1 59.7
Food Preparation Assistants 123.7 67.8 191.5 64.6
Road and Rail Drivers 112.6 181.0 293.6 38.9
Education Professionals 101.3 491.1 592.4 17.0
Cleaners and Laundry Workers 95.8 136.7 232.5 41.5
Other Labourers 91.5 103.5 195.0 46.6
Sports and Personal Service Workers 87.0 65.8 152.8 55.8
Inquiry Clerks and Receptionists 80.6 230.1 310.7 26.2
Health Professionals 66.5 483.9 550.4 12.1
Construction and Mining Labourers 65.5 78.6 144.1 46.4
Factory Process Workers 62.9 134.9 197.8 31.6
Construction Trades Workers 58.4 151.4 209.8 27.8
Food Trades Workers 53.3 115.4 168.7 31.4
General Clerical Workers 49.6 244.8 294.4 17.0
Storepersons 48.2 84.2 132.4 35.8
Business, Human Resource and Marketing Professionals 45.5 591.5 637.0 7.1
Automotive and Engineering Trades Workers 43.3 264.4 307.7 13.9
Design, Engineering, Science and Transport Professionals 42.2 336.6 378.8 11.2
Hospitality, Retail and Service Managers 42.1 284.7 326.8 12.9
Farm, Forestry and Garden Workers 40.1 52.1 92.2 45.1
Skilled Animal and Horticultural Workers 38.6 51.4 90.0 42.2
Numerical Clerks 38.1 269.1 307.2 12.5
Mobile Plant Operators 34.2 97.3 131.5 25.6
Other Clerical and Administrative Workers 33.3 210.7 244.0 13.5
Other Technicians and Trades Workers 31.6 103.3 134.9 23.5
Engineering, ICT and Science Technicians 29.2 206.8 236 12.4
Legal, Social and Welfare Professionals 27.5 183.9 211.4 12.9
ICT Professionals 26.7 260.0 286.7 9.2
Specialist Managers 24.6 590.8 615.4 4.0
Machine and Stationary Plant Operators 24.3 140.0 164.3 14.7
Electro-technology and Telecommunications Trades Workers 22.3 168.7 191.0 11.6
Health and Welfare Support Workers 22.0 101.6 123.6 17.7
Protective Service Workers 20.5 122.6 143.1 14.2
Sales Representatives and Agents 18.4 133.5 151.9 12.1
Office Managers and Program Administrators 16.7 210.4 227.1 7.4
Clerical and Office Support Workers 14.5 49.4 63.9 22.9
Arts and Media Professionals 12.2 41.6 53.8 23.4

Source: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, using TableBuilder

Table 4 shows where casual employees were working by region in Australia as at August 2019. Estimates shown in grey shading have Relative Standard Errors (RSEs) of between 25 and 50 per cent. The Australian Bureau of Statistics advises these estimates should be used with caution.[11]

Table 4—casual employees by region in Australia, August 2019

Region of usual residence – Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4) Number of casual employees Permanent employees Total employees Casual share of total employees
  (‘000) (%)
Sydney - Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury 31.9 89.3 121.2 26.3
Sydney - Blacktown 41.8 141.6 183.4 22.8
Sydney - City and Inner South 45.5 144.9 190.4 23.9
Sydney - Eastern Suburbs 31.0 103.5 134.5 23.0
Sydney - Inner South West 70.5 202 272.5 25.9
Sydney - Inner West 37.9 126.7 164.6 23.0
Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby 41.2 170.6 211.8 19.5
Sydney - Northern Beaches 22.5 76.3 98.8 22.8
Sydney - Outer South West 24.8 93.3 118.1 21.0
Sydney - Outer West and Blue Mountains 28.3 124.0 152.3 18.6
Sydney - Parramatta 54.6 153.9 208.5 26.2
Sydney - Ryde 28.3 76.2 104.5 27.1
Sydney - South West 38.6 131.5 170.1 22.7
Sydney - Sutherland 20.8 98.6 119.4 17.4
Central Coast 28.3 106.5 134.8 21.0
Total Greater Capital City - NSW 540.6 1 838.0 2 378.6 22.7
Capital Region 28.9 69.2 98.1 29.5
NSW - Central West 23.6 49.2 72.8 32.4
Coffs Harbour - Grafton 11.2 25.5 36.7 30.5
Far West and Orana 12.0 25.9 37.9 31.7
Hunter Valley exc Newcastle 26.5 89.7 116.2 22.8
Illawarra 27.0 94.9 121.9 22.1
Mid North Coast 19.0 48.2 67.2 28.3
Murray 14.8 33.2 48.0 30.8
New England and North West 19.6 58.0 77.6 25.3
Newcastle and Lake Macquarie 48.0 128.8 176.8 27.1
Richmond - Tweed 28.3 58.9 87.2 32.5
Riverina 20.9 59.5 80.4 26.0
Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven 14.5 32.4 46.9 30.9
Total Rest of State - NSW 292.2 776.4 1 068.6 27.3
NEW SOUTH WALES 831.4 2 613.1 3 444.5 24.1
Melbourne - Inner 80.0 272.9 350.9 22.8
Melbourne - Inner East 40.6 133.1 172 23.6
Melbourne - Inner South 52.3 140.4 192.1 27.2
Melbourne - North East 53.6 187.2 238.8 22.4
Melbourne - North West 39.8 111.9 154.1 25.8
Melbourne - Outer East 41.4 197.1 236.8 17.5
Melbourne - South East 95.1 285.9 382.3 24.9
Melbourne - West 75.3 290.7 368.6 20.4
Mornington Peninsula 29.3 110.4 139 21.1
Total Greater Capital City - Vic 510.8 1 726.3 2 237.8 22.8
Ballarat 12.1 50.9 63.9 18.9
Bendigo 15.3 48.8 66.6 23.0
Geelong 26.1 85.3 109.1 23.9
Hume 12.8 52.3 71.8 17.8
Latrobe - Gippsland 25.0 77.1 102 24.5
Victoria - North West 19.0 39.5 60.4 31.5
Shepparton 19.7 33.9 54.9 35.9
Warrnambool and South West 11.2 44.4 55 20.4
Total Rest of State - Vic 143.0 434.2 575.9 24.8
VICTORIA 651.9 2 161.8 2 813.7 23.2
Brisbane - East 30.1 84.6 116.5 25.8
Brisbane - North 24.3 78.4 101.5 23.9
Brisbane - South 41.8 133.5 174.8 23.9
Brisbane - West 18.2 57.1 78.4 23.2
Brisbane Inner City 37.4 115.0 152.9 24.5
Ipswich 32.1 128.8 158.2 20.3
Logan - Beaudesert 29.8 99.0 126.4 23.6
Moreton Bay - North 14.2 56.0 73.4 19.3
Moreton Bay - South 24.5 71.4 94.8 25.8
Total Greater Capital City - Qld 251.0 825.4 1078 23.3
Cairns 23.7 64.7 86.7 27.3
Darling Downs - Maranoa 19.7 39.2 56.4 34.9
Central Queensland 22.0 67.0 91.2 24.1
Gold Coast 78.1 195.1 275.1 28.4
Mackay - Isaac - Whitsunday 19.1 62.4 80.4 23.8
Queensland - Outback 8.9 21.4 26.7 33.3
Sunshine Coast 44.0 105.6 149.6 29.4
Toowoomba 14.2 36.5 49.3 28.8
Townsville 22.8 69.5 94.4 24.2
Wide Bay 25.1 62.3 88.3 28.4
Total Rest of State - Qld 280.7 719.8 997.5 28.1
QUEENSLAND 530.4 1 544.5 2 075.0 25.6
Adelaide - Central and Hills 41.1 99.9 139.3 29.5
Adelaide - North 46.5 130.5 177.7 26.2
Adelaide - South 40.1 103.9 144.0 27.8
Adelaide - West 21.3 78.0 97.4 21.9
Total Greater Capital City - SA 147.4 411.8 559.8 26.3
Barossa - Yorke - Mid North 8.9 24.6 34.0 26.2
South Australia - Outback 11.4 23.1 35.2 32.4
South Australia - South East 16.7 56.0 71.7 23.3
Total Rest of State - SA 36.9 104.0 141.5 26.1
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 185.8 514.8 700.6 26.5
Mandurah 14.2 31.1 43.8 32.4
Perth - Inner 26.6 61.1 88.2 30.2
Perth - North East 23.2 97.6 119.2 19.5
Perth - North West 52.6 192.0 243.4 21.6
Perth - South East 62.1 166.1 229.6 27.0
Perth - South West 50.9 126.9 177.9 28.6
Total Greater Capital City - WA 228.1 678.1 908.4 25.1
Bunbury 17.7 61.2 78.3 22.6
Western Australia - Outback (North and South) 19.3 67.1 88.4 21.8
Western Australia - Wheat Belt 9.6 37.7 48.5 19.8
Total Rest of State - WA 47.1 164.5 212.7 22.1
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 274.6 845.0 1 119.6 24.5
Hobart 26.9 71.6 98.9 27.2
Launceston and North East 16.0 42.4 57.9 27.6
Tasmania - South East 4.1 10.6 14.2 28.9
Tasmania - West and North West 12.2 25.8 38.1 32.0
TASMANIA 59.1 150.0 209.2 28.3
Darwin 18.4 61.2 80 23.0
Northern Territory - Outback 5.6 29.8 35.6 15.7
NORTHERN TERRITORY 24.4 91.0 115.4 21.1
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY 44.3 161.1 204.7 21.6
AUSTRALIA 2 601.8 10.6 10 683.0 24.4

Source: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, using TableBuilder

Duration of casual employees with current employer

In August 2019 just over one million casual employees (or 40.9 per cent) had been with their current employer for less than 12 months. And just under 80 per cent of this group expected to be with their current employer in a year’s time (see Table 5).

Table 5—duration with current employer for casual employees by industry, August 2019

Industry of main job Duration with current employer Share of total employees
Under 12 months 12 months or more Total Under 12 months 12 months or more
  (‘000) (%)
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 21.3 32.8 54.1 39.4 60.6
Mining 22.8 12.0 34.8 65.5 34.5
Manufacturing 71.9 76.1 148 48.6 51.4
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services 9.3 8.6 17.9 52.0 48.0
Construction 86.9 103.1 190.0 45.7 54.3
Wholesale Trade 25.0 32.4 57.4 43.6 56.4
Retail Trade 154.9 265.6 420.5 36.8 63.2
Accommodation and Food Services 229.8 266.5 496.3 46.3 53.7
Transport, Postal and Warehousing 44.5 78.0 122.5 36.3 63.7
Information Media and Telecommunications 14.5 24.1 38.6 37.6 62.4
Financial and Insurance Services 12.6 14.6 27.2 46.3 53.7
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services 6.9 20.7 27.6 25.0 75.0
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 40.4 68.6 109.0 37.1 62.9
Administrative and Support Services 54.6 61.8 116.4 46.9 53.1
Public Administration and Safety 24.1 48.9 73.0 33.0 67.0
Education and Training 67.1 121.3 188.4 35.6 64.4
Health Care and Social Assistance 118.0 194.8 312.8 37.7 62.3
Arts and Recreation Services 27.2 53.1 80.3 33.9 66.1
Other Services 34.7 59.9 94.6 36.7 63.3
TOTAL 1063.2 1539.2 2602.4 40.9 59.1

Source: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, using TableBuilder

In terms of the industries expected to be hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus, 46.3 per cent of casual employees in Accommodation and food services had been with their current employer for less than 12 months, along with 33.9 per cent of casual employees in Arts and recreation services.[12] Young people are more likely to have been working for their current employer as casuals for less than 12 months.

  • 489,300 or 26.4 per cent of employees aged 15 to 24 years were casual workers who had been with their current employer for less than 12 months. This compares with 294,600 or only 6.5 per cent of employees aged 25 years and over.
  • Young people aged 15 to 24 years accounted for 46.0 per cent of all short-term casual employees in August 2019 which compares with their 17.4 per cent share of all employees.
  • Young people aged accounted for 72.7 per cent of short-term casuals in Accommodation and food services, 68.2 per cent of short-term casual in Retail trade and 51.8 per cent of short-term casuals in Arts and recreation services.[13]

Table 6—employees by age, access to paid leave and duration with current employer, August 2019

Duration with current employer With paid leave entitlements Without paid leave entitlements Total
NUMBER (‘000)
15 to 24 years      
  Less than 12 months 294.6 489.3 783.8
  12 months or more 560.1 516.1 1 068.7
  TOTAL 854.7 1 005.4 1 852.5
25 years or more      
  Less than 12 months 1 018.2 576.4 1 589.6
  12 months or more 6 208.8 1 026.8 7 238.6
  TOTAL 7 227.0 1 603.2 8 828.2
SHARE OF TOTAL (%) (%)
15 to 24 years      
  Less than 12 months 15.9 26.4 42.3
  12 months or more 30.2 27.9 57.7
  TOTAL 46.1 54.3 100.0
25 years or more      
  Less than 12 months 11.5 6.5 18.0
  12 months or more 70.3 11.6 82.0
  TOTAL 81.9 18.2 100.0

Source: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, using TableBuilder

Note: Individual categories my not quite sum to totals in columns and rows due to rounding.

Further analysis shows there were 165,000 young short-term casuals employed in Accommodation and food services in August 2019, along with 103,200 employed in Retail trade, 33,800 in Health care and social assistance, 30,400 in Manufacturing and 27,600 in Education and training. There were only 14,000 young short-term casuals employed in Arts and recreation services.[14]

Longer-term casual employees working part-time averaged earnings of $1,001.80 per fortnight in August 2019. Hence it follows that employees with these characteristics that lose their job due to the impact of COVID-19 are more likely than other employee types (that lose their job) to be advantaged by the decision to set the JobKeeper payment at $1,500 per fortnight. In contrast many full-time employees that lose their job will not receive full wage replacement. Employees with and without paid leave entitlements working full-time hours earned on average well in excess of $1,500 per fortnight in August 2019 at $3,446.80 and $2,834.00 respectively (see Table 7).

Table 7—average fortnightly earnings for employees by access to paid leave, full-time or part-time status, and duration with current employer, August 2019

Duration with current employer With paid leave entitlements Without paid leave entitlements
Full-time Part-time Total Full-time Part-time Total
AVERAGE EARNINGS $ per fortnight
Under 12 months 3 074.40 1 443.60 2761.40 2 899.40 823.00 1 516.20
1 and under 2 years 3 092.40 1 458.00 2 735.80 2 549.60 833.80 1 270.00
2 and under 3 years 3 173.00 1 529.80 2 852.00 2 816.40 938.40 1 475.60
3 and under 5 years 3 251.20 1 511.60 2 903.00 2 928.00 942.60 1 499.80
5 and under 10 years 3 479.00 1 789.20 3 123.20 3 112.40 1 232.00 1 816.40
10 and under 20 years 3 723.40 1 869.40 3 288.20 3 094.20 1 263.00 1 759.00
20 years and over 3 772.60 2 115.40 3 401.60 3 474.20 1 455.00 1 989.20
12 months and over 3 446.80 1 722.80 3 079.80 2 834.00 1 001.80 1 523.20
Total 3 381.60 1 683.80 3 026.80 2 850.40 934.80 1 516.60

Source: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, using TableBuilder (based on ABS calculations of weighted mean or average weekly earnings for each duration category)

Table 8 shows the number of employees by access to leave entitlements, full-time or part-time status and duration with current employer.

Table 8—number of employees by access to paid leave, full-time or part-time status, and duration with current employer, August 2019

Duration with current employer With paid leave entitlements Without paid leave entitlements
Full-time Part-time Total Full-time Part-time Total
NUMBER ‘000
Under 12 months 1 063.6 251.6 1 311.5 352.4 709.2 1 063.2
1 and under 2 years 601.0 164.5 765.0 101.7 303.8 405.5
2 and under 3 years 743.3 177.8 921.7 108.5 260.2 367.2
3 and under 5 years 979.2 241.0 1 223.2 88.9 241.7 331.5
5 and under 10 years 1 338.6 355.8 1 694.5 83.1 171.7 251.7
10 and under 20 years 1 124.0 343.9 1 466.0 33.6 88.4 122.9
20 years and over 538.8 160.5 699.7 15.8 44.1 60.4
12 months and over 5 324.9 1443.5 6 770.1 431.6 1 109.9 1 539.2
Total 6 390.4 1691.7 8 081.2 784.1 1 817.2 2 601.3

Source: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, using TableBuilder.

Conclusion

Uncertainty exists as to how many casual workers will be affected by closures of businesses resulting from policy responses to the outbreak of COVID-19. But the more immediate impacts are likely to affect short-term casual workers in the food and hospitality industries as well as other service industries affected by the decision to reduce the size of social gatherings.


[1].   Treasury, JobKeeper Payment — Information for employees, Factsheet, 20 April 2020

[2].   Treasury, JobKeeper Payment—Information for employers, Factsheet, 25 April 2020

[3].   Services Australia (SA), ‘More financial support for coronavirus affected job seekers’, SA website, 22 March 2020.

[4].   M Klapdor, ‘Economic response to coronavirus—social security measures part 1: temporary supplement and improved access to income support’, FlagPost, Parliamentary Library blog, 23 March 2020.

[5].   M Cash (Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business) and A Ruston (Minister for Families and Social Services), COVID-19 mutual obligation arrangements extended, media release, 27 March 2020.

[6].   Ibid. Treasury, Income support for individuals, Factsheet, Treasury, Canberra, March 2020.

[7].   Australian Public Service Commission, APS Employment Data 30 June 2019 release

[8].   Australian Public Service Commission, Circular 2020/1: COVID-19 leave arrangements

[9].   ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, Glossary

[10].   Includes child care services and other social support services (including aged care assistance, disabilities assistance, marriage guidance, welfare counselling and youth welfare services).

[11].   RSEs provide an indication of the relative size of errors that are likely to occur due to sampling or surveys being used to derive estimates rather than getting information from the whole population such as when the Census is undertaken.

[12].   ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, using TableBuilder

[13].  ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, using TableBuilder

[14]. ABS, Characteristics of Employment, cat. no. 6333.0, using TableBuilder.

 

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