Budget-cutting political leaders regularly target the jobs and incomes of public sector workers as the first and most politically convenient target of their austerity measures. But their crusade to balance the books by downsizing headcounts, intensifying work, and freezing the pay of the workers who deliver essential public services can backfire. In this new report, Troy Henderson and Jim Stanford consider the unintended consequences of one prominent austerity measure: the cap on public sector wage increases that has been in place in New South Wales since 2011.Read more
The record-slow pace of wage growth in Australia’s economy is not just making it difficult for families to balance their budgets, it also threatens severe long-run damage to Australia’s superannuation retirement system. That’s the finding of new research from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute.Read more
The informal work practices of the so-called “gig” economy are widening existing cracks in Australia’s system of labour regulations, and should be repaired through active measures to strengthen labour standards in digital businesses. That is the conclusion of newly-published research from a special symposium on "Work in the Gig Economy," organised by the Centre for Future Work.Read more
In conjunction with the National Manufacturing Summit, titled "From Opportunity to Action," at Parliament House in Canberra on June 21, 2017, the Centre for Future Work has released a new research paper on the opportunities to sustain and expand manufacturing jobs in Australia.Read more
Amidst increasing concerns among economists and budget forecasters about the historic stagnation of Australian wages, the latest GDP statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics have confirmed that the proportion of national economic output that is paid to workers has reached an all-time low.
New research from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute confirms that total labour compensation (including wages, salaries, and super contributions) fell to just 46.2 percent of total national GDP in the March 2017 quarter. That falls below the previous record low, 46.4 percent, dating back to 1959.Read more
The Fair Work Commission released two major decisions this week: its order regarding the timing for the implementation of reductions in penalty rates for Sunday and public holiday work in four major retail and hospitality awards, followed by its annual review of the general minimum wage. It is interesting to review the combined impact that the two decisions will have on the wages of workers in sectors affected by the penalty rates decision.Read more
The Australian government’s surprising decision to impose a new tax targeted precisely at the biggest financial institutions in the country continues to generate public debate. We have reviewed the structure, likely effects, and economic and regulatory context of the proposed 0.06% levy on selected liabilities of the 5 largest financial institutions in Australia.Read more
As Australians debate the Fair Work Commission’ decision to reduce penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers, the Centre for Future Work has published new research on the prevalence of weekend work in other sectors of Australia’s economy – and the macroeconomic importance of extra income generated by weekend penalty pay.Read more
Government and business leaders have proposed a range of possible “transition” mechanisms to ease the economic hardship, and defuse political anger, following the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates for work on Sundays and public holidays in the retail and hospitality industries. This briefing note critically reviews several of these proposals.Read more
Today is International Women's Day, a time to reflect on the continued inequality faced by women -- including in the world of work. Traditional measures of the "gender pay gap" indicate that women earn around 17 percent less than men, in ordinary pay in equivalent full-time positions. But the situation is worse than that, because of women's disproportionate concentration in part-time work. Including part-time workers, women now earn exactly one-third less than men.
The Fair Work Commission's announcement of coming reductions in penalty rates for Sunday and holiday work (of up to 50 percentage points of base wage) in the retail and hospitality sectors will clearly (if implemented) exacerbate the gender inequality in earnings.Read more