Publication Date

January 2001

Publication Details

Rodgers, JR, Poverty Rates Among Part-time and Casual Workers, Working Paper 01-09, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2001.


The proportion of Australian workers who are employed on either a part-time or a casual basis has been increasing for the past several decades. By the beginning of the 21st century, 30 percent of employment is of this type. The common perception seems to be that part-time and casual jobs are undesirable. For example, Sharan Burrow, President of the ACTU, in her 14 February 2001 address to the Committee for Economic Development asserted that "60% of all casual workers require more hours to ensure a living wage." But economic status depends not only upon the worker’s own earnings but also on his or her living arrangements and the earnings of other members of his or her family. This paper uses unit-record data from the ABS’ latest Income and Housing Cost Survey and Forms of Employment Survey to compare the poverty rates of part-time and casual workers with those of full-time workers, permanent workers, the unemployed and people not in the labour force.