Fair Work Commission staff in the Workplace and Economic Research Section of the Tribunal Services Branch may conduct or commission research as part of the annual wage review. On 30 September 2014, the Expert Panel outlined its medium-term research program following a process where interested parties were invited to submit proposals and participate in consultations. As announced in a Statement on 19 November 2015, a number of these projects were completed to inform the Annual Wage Review 2015–16.
In undertaking the research program, the Workplace and Economic Research Section consults a Minimum Wages Research Group comprising a chair from the Section and representatives nominated by:
In addition to research projects, a statistical report and research reference list are also published for the annual wage reviews.
The Research reference list includes Australian and international literature relevant to the minimum wages and modern awards objectives. The list only encompasses relevant literature published over the year to March 2016. This page contains a link to the current version only.
Research reference list – Annual Wage Review 2015-16 (PDF) – updated 1 April 2016
The report, An international comparison of minimum wages and labour market outcomes (PDF), provides a quantitative investigation that compares the labour market outcomes of countries similar to Australia with relatively high and low minimum wages.
This involves comparing particular employment indicators, including:
Research undertaken for the Pay Equity Unit Work Program 2014–15 provides information to inform matters relating to pay equity under the Fair Work Act 2009 including the annual wage review.
Papers presented at the AWRS Conference on 25 June 2015 will be published as they are finalised by the authors.
The Earnings and characteristics of employees by gender and industrial arrangement report addresses 3 research questions:
The exploration of these questions particularly focuses on variation between employees by method of setting pay (award-reliant employees, employees on over award arrangements and employees on collective agreements).
This research examines a range of influences and constraints on low-paid women's workforce participation decisions (to work or not work, hours of work, extended leave periods and type). It also explores the impact, if any, of women's workforce participation decisions on pay equity outcomes.
The Low-paid women’s workforce participation decisions and pay equity report addresses the following research questions:
The following research projects will be undertaken to inform future annual wage reviews. The timeframes for this research will be dependent on more detailed scoping of the projects.
This project would involve an analysis of the characteristics of the youth labour market, including comparisons over time. Characteristics would include employment type, hours worked, educational attainment, and industry and occupation of those employed. Differences in unemployment and underemployment between youth who are and who are not full-time students would also be explored. Analysis would be performed using various Australian data sources. A literature review on the causes of youth unemployment may also be included.
This project would track the changes over time in the extent of underemployment for those who are employed part-time, and its relation with unemployment. It would compare and analyse the characteristics of persons who are underemployed with persons unemployed, including over time. The characteristics that would be considered include gender, age, student status, location, industry and occupation. For underemployed workers, the characteristics for analysis would also include method of setting pay, hours worked and work schedules. It would seek information on the duration of underemployment and mobility to alternative employment states.
Research material from past annual wage reviews is available.
Go to a complete list of previous research.