1288.0 - Standards for Labour Force Statistics, Issue For Dec 2014  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/12/2014   
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Measuring the levels and trends in hours worked for different groups of employed persons is important for monitoring working and living conditions, as well as analysing economic activity.

Information on hours worked also enables the classification of employed persons into full-time and part-time status. There are a number of different concepts of hours worked that are measured through ABS collections:

  • actual hours;
  • usual hours; and
  • and hours paid for (including both ordinary time hours and overtime hours).
The ABS also produces a derived series of Aggregate monthly hours worked.

This standard discusses the concepts related to hours worked as applied in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and other ABS collections. Definitions used by the ABS align closely with ILO's standards and guidelines, most notably the 18th ICLS Resolution on Working Time Arrangements (2008). In this resolution the concept of hours worked relates to the time when (paid) workers were at the disposal of an employer, that is, when available to receive work orders from an employer or person in authority, and covers all jobs. During such periods of availability, workers are expected to be ready to work if work is possible, requested or necessary. This general concept is also meaningful for owner managers if it is taken to mean time when they are available to do their work, such as being at the disposal of clients, ready ti receive purchase orders or available to make sales, etc. The ILO in its report 'Report II: Measurement of working time' for the 18th International Conference of Labour Statisticians, discusses the concepts and definitions in measuring hours of work. The report provides a comprehensive guide to producing statistics on hours of work, including other related measures.

There are three core variables which directly measure the concept of hours worked:
  • Actual hours worked;
  • Usual hours worked; and
  • Hours paid for.
In addition, derived measures of total hours of work over a month or quarter are increasingly important to provide a measure of the total volume of labour inputs to the economy, and how this is changing over time. As a result, there is a further measure of hours worked produced, aggregate monthly hours worked.

The three variables related to hours worked are all an attribute of the measurement unit 'Person'. For total hours, however, hours worked can also be in reference to hours worked in a particular job.