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Part-time employment in Australia: unusual features and social policy issues

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As with many other OECD economies, a growing part-time employment share has been a characteristic of the Australian workforce experience over the past three decades. Examines several distinctive features of Australian part-time employment, namely: the high proportion of part-time employees who are employed under casual employment conditions, the growing male part-time employment share and the growing proportion of involuntary part-time workers. Outlines several important policy implications, namely: many part-time employees are entitled to but not receiving permanent employment conditions; many part-timers are excluded from the many non-wage entitlements associated with full-time employment; adjusted hourly wage rates for part-time workers appear to be falling relative to full-time workers, the ability of part-time employees to participate in the newly emerging collective bargaining framework is constrained by their very low trade union density relative to full-time employees; and there are doubts as to how part-time workers can effectively participate in and benefit from the emerging programme of employee-based superannuation entitlements.
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Keywords: Australia; Collective Bargaining; Part-Time Work; Patterns of Work; Working Conditions; Working Hours

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 1997

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