One million Aussies working two jobs
A RECORD number of Australians need a second job to survive accelerating living expenses which are outpace growth in the size of pay packets.
More than one million clock on to two workplaces, according to a Labor analysis of official figures.
In the December quarter the number of secondary job holders rose by 3.3 per cent according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force figures, opposition employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor said today.
That would mean close to eight per cent of the 12.7 million working Australians need two wages.
The figure comes on top of ABS findings that more than one million people are underemployed - they want more work but can't get it.
"It's clear that for too many people everything is going up except for their wages," said Mr O'Connor today.
The dual job holders might be getting an extra wage for a special project, such as saving for a home deposit.
But the need for two jobs is being linked to a cost of living rise of around 2.5 per cent while pay is going up by 2.27 per cent, and fears most households are spending their savings to maintain living standards.
The analysis underlines the Opposition's warning that wages need a boost, and questions the Government's boasts of improving employment numbers.
Labor leader Bill Shorten had made wages the centrepiece of the party's election campaign and has given in-principle support to establishment of a living wage.
Business has argued faster wage rises would kill off jobs and said economic productivity has to be boosted first. However, over recent years productivity has risen while wage growth has dipped and unemployment has stuck at five per cent.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has added to those business warnings and demanded Mr Shorten detail how it would push up pay.
"He's saying to coffee shop owners and small businesses around the country: Sack someone," he told reporters yesterday.
"That's his policy - that people should be sacked. Bill Shorten wants to sacrifice jobs for his politics of envy."
Mr Shorten said today: "This (two jobs finding) just shows the lengths that Australians are being forced to go to make ends meet.
"Australia is seeing record lows in wages growth, stagnant real wages and cuts to penalty rates - at the same time as household budgets are being stretched by soaring energy bills, health costs, child care costs.
"The economy isn't working in the interests of everyone. While the balance is tipped away from working Australians, we are going to see more people forced into situations where they will have to take a second job."
Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers last night told Sly News the proposals had been released.
"We've already announced that we'll restore penalty rates, which is important," said Mr Chalmers.
"We've already announced that we would crack down on sham contracting and dodgy visas and the use of labour hire to undercut wages and conditions. "
He said Labor was working on ways to "lift the minimum wage in this country, because the gap between the minimum wage and a living wage, or the average wage, has been growing over time. And that's a big problem".