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Labour market indicators

Unemployment rate in 2005: 5.1% (ILO data)

Working population:


Total Population

Working population

Activity rate


20 120 000  
10 270 455  
Source : Worldbank

Employment by sector:






Sources: ILO, Eurostat, last available data


Employment contracts
Australia's new workplace reforms package, WorkChoices, took effect from 27 March 2006.

The new system provides a single, national set of rules for minimum terms, conditions, awards and agreements.
The Workplace Relations Act incorporating the amendments from the WorkChoices Act is now available for downloading.
The Workplace Relations Regulations 2006 will help employers and employees to know their rights and responsibilities under the new WorkChoices system and to make any necessary changes in their workplace.

The OEA - The Office of the Employment Advocate's (OEA) primary role is to accept lodgements of workplace agreements.
In doing this, the OEA provides free support and information to both employers and employees on agreement making. The OEA is also available to assist employers and employees understand the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard.
An employer or employee can ask the OEA to check agreements before they are lodged to ensure that they do not contain prohibited content.
The OEA can explain the content of agreements in ways appropriate to an employee's specific needs including, for example, the circumstances of persons from a non-English speaking background and young persons.


National monthly minimum wage as of :

The Federal Minimum Wage (FMV) is set and adjusted by the Australian Fair Pay Commission. The Australian Fair Pay Commission made its first minimum wage decision in Spring 2006.

Average wage for a employee in the manufacturing industry in 2004: 22.77 dollars by  hour (ILO data)

Social security contributions

Employer: States levy the Payroll Tax, which varies between 3.65% and 6.85% of the global mass salary of the company (however, small firms are generally exempted from it; depending of the states and territories of Australia).


Number of hours

Legal definition of full time work (per week): 38 hours

Retirement age:

There is no standard retirement age in Australia, it is negotiated between the employer and the employee. However, employees are entitled to apply for a pension as follows:

- Men: over the age of 65 years

- Women: varies according to a sliding scale depending on their birth date.



Average rate of union membership: Joining a trade union is not compulsory in Australia. The Trade Union movement is represented by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) which represent over two million Australian workers. This is only about 22% of the Australian workforce.


The number of unions in Australia is approximately 132 (Australian Bureau of Statistics Census 1996). As a result of the non-union proportion of the work force rapidly increasing in recent years, the credibility of the Trade Union's claim to speak for all workers has declined.

Useful links

For further informations on the labour market, check out the following web sites:

- International Labour Organization (ILO): studies, statistics and reports on working conditions and labour markets

- NATLEX : ILO database on national labour laws

Last modified in January 2006
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