Some Excerpts of the 19th ICLS

Contents:

Forms of work, Own-Use Production Work, Employment, Unpaid Trainee Work, Volunteer Work, Measures of labour underutilization, Time-related Underemployment, Unemployment, and Potential Labour Force

 

Operational definitions and guidelines

Forms of work

  1. The various forms of work are measured with respect to a short reference period. The appropriate reference period for each form is based on the intensity of participation and working time arrangements:
    • seven days or one week, for employment and unpaid trainee work;
    • four weeks or one calendar month, for own-use production of goods, unpaid trainee work and volunteer work;
    • one or more 24-hour days within a seven-day or one-week period, for own-use provision of services.
  2.  To enable analysis of participation in multiple forms of work an overlap between these different reference periods is needed. In addition, these short reference periods may be combined with measurement over a long observation period, as described in paragraph 57(c).
  3. A person is considered to have engaged in a given form of work when performing such form of work for at least one hour during the relevant, short reference period. Use of this one-hour criterion ensures coverage of all the activities engaged in, including part-time, temporary, casual or sporadic activities, as well as comprehensive measurement of all inputs of labour into production.

Own-use production work

  1. Persons in own-use production work are defined as all those of working age who, during a short reference period, performed any activity to produce goods or provide services for own final use, where:
    • “any activity” refers to work performed in the various activities under paragraph 22(b) and (c) for a cumulative total of at least one hour;
    • production of “goods” (within the 2008 SNA production boundary) covers:
      • producing and/or processing for storage agricultural, fishing, hunting and gathering products;
      • collecting and/or processing for storage mining and forestry products, including firewood and other fuels;
      • fetching water from natural and other sources;
      • manufacturing household goods (such as furniture, textiles, clothing, footwear, pottery or other durables, including boats and canoes);
      • building, or effecting major repairs to, one’s own dwelling, farm buildings, etc.;
    • provision of “services” (beyond the 2008 SNA production boundary but inside the General production boundary) covers:
      • household accounting and management, purchasing and/or transporting goods;
      • preparing and/or serving meals, household waste disposal and recycling;
      • cleaning, decorating and maintaining one’s own dwelling or premises, durables and other goods, and gardening;
      • childcare and instruction, transporting and caring for elderly, dependent or other household members and domestic animals or pets, etc.;
    • “for own final use” is interpreted as production where the intended destination of the output is mainly for final use by the producer in the form of capital formation, or final consumption by household members, or by family members living in other households:
      • the intended destination of the output is established in reference to the specific goods produced or services provided, as self-declared (i.e. mainly for own final use);
      • in the case of agricultural, fishing, hunting or gathering goods intended mainly for own consumption, a part or surplus may nevertheless be sold or bartered.
  1. Essential items that need to be collected, using various sources as specified in paragraph 67, to support national accounts, and for household and sectoral analyses of own-use production work are:
    • the working time of own-use producers associated with each relevant activity cluster collected using short time units (such as minutes or hours according to the source);
    • the estimated value of the production (i.e. goods or services), and/or the amount of goods, consumed or retained by the household and by family members in other households;
    • the estimated amount and/or value of any part or surplus sold or bartered, where applicable; and
    • the expenses incurred in relation to this production.
  2. Subsistence foodstuff producers constitute an important subgroup of persons in own-use production work. They are defined as:
    • all those who performed any of the activities specified in paragraph 22(b)(i) in order to produce foodstuff from agriculture, fishing, hunting or gathering that contribute to the livelihood of the household or family;
    • excluded are persons who engaged in such production as recreational or leisure activities.
  3. For operational purposes, an important test to verify the subsistence nature of the activity is that it is carried out without workers hired for pay or profit.
  4. For purposes of monitoring conditions of labour market performance as related to insufficient access to, or integration in, markets, or to other factors of production, statistics of this group should be identified and reported separately to serve policy needs, as recommended in paragraph 73(a) and (b).

Employment

  1. Persons in employment are defined as all those of working age who, during a short reference period, were engaged in any activity to produce goods or provide services for pay or profit. They comprise:
    • employed persons “at work”, i.e. who worked in a job for at least one hour;
    • employed persons “not at work” due to temporary absence from a job, or to working-time arrangements (such as shift work, flexitime and compensatory leave for overtime).
  2. “For pay or profit” refers to work done as part of a transaction in exchange for remuneration payable in the form of wages or salaries for time worked or work done, or in the form of profits derived from the goods and services produced through market transactions, specified in the most recent international statistical standards concerning employment-related income.
    • It includes remuneration in cash or in kind, whether actually received or not, and may also comprise additional components of cash or in-kind income.
    • The remuneration may be payable directly to the person performing the work or indirectly to a household or family member.
  3. Employed persons on “temporary absence” during the short reference period refers to those who, having already worked in their present job, were “not at work” for a short duration but maintained a job attachment during their absence. In such cases:
    • “job attachment” is established on the basis of the reason for the absence and in the case of certain reasons, the continued receipt of remuneration, and/or the total duration of the absence as self-declared or reported, depending on the statistical source;
    • the reasons for absence that are by their nature usually of short duration, and where “job attachment” is maintained, include those such as sick leave due to own illness or injury (including occupational); public holidays, vacation or annual leave; and periods of maternity or paternity leave as specified by legislation;
    • reasons for absence where the “job attachment” requires further testing, include among others: parental leave, educational leave, care for others, other personal absences, strikes or lockouts, reduction in economic activity (e.g. temporary lay-off, slack work), disorganization or suspension of work (e.g. due to bad weather, mechanical, electrical or communication breakdown, problems with information and communication technology, shortage of raw materials or fuels):
      • for these reasons, a further test of receipt of remuneration and/or a duration threshold should be used. The threshold should be, in general, not greater than three months taking into account periods of statutory leave entitlement specified by legislation or commonly practiced, and/or the length of the employment season so as to permit the monitoring of seasonal patterns. Where the return to employment in the same economic unit is guaranteed this threshold may be greater than three months;
      • for operational purposes, where the total duration of the absence is not known, the elapsed duration may be used.
  1. Included in employment are:
    • persons who work for pay or profit while on training or skills-enhancement activities required by the job or for another job in the same economic unit, such persons are considered as employed “at work” in accordance with the international statistical standards on working time;
    • apprentices, interns or trainees who work for pay in cash or in kind;
    • persons who work for pay or profit through employment promotion programmes;
    • persons who work in their own economic units to produce goods intended mainly for sale or barter, even if part of the output is consumed by the household or family;
    • persons with seasonal jobs during the off season, if they continue to perform some tasks andduties of the job, excluding, however, fulfilment of legal or administrative obligations (e.g. pay taxes), irrespective of receipt of remuneration;
    • persons who work for pay or profit payable to the household or family,
      • in market units operated by a family member living in the same or in another household; or
      • performing tasks or duties of an employee job held by a family member living in the same or in another household;
    • regular members of the armed forces and persons on military or alternative civilian service who perform this work for pay in cash or in kind.
  2. Excluded from employment are:
    • apprentices, interns and trainees who work without pay in cash or in kind;
    • participants in skills training or retraining schemes within employment promotion programmes, when not engaged in the production process of an economic unit;
    • persons who are required to perform work as a condition of continued receipt of a government social benefit such as unemployment insurance;
    • persons receiving transfers, in cash or in kind, not related to employment;
    • persons with seasonal jobs during the off season, if they cease to perform the tasks and duties of the job;
    • persons who retain a right to return to the same economic unit but who were absent for reasons specified in paragraph 29(c), when the total duration of the absence exceeds the specified threshold and/or if the test of receipt of remuneration is not fulfilled. For analytical purposes, it may be useful to collect information on total duration of absence, reason for absence, benefits received, etc.;
    • persons on indefinite lay-off who do not have an assurance of return to employment with the same economic unit.
  3. To support job-level analyses, information should be collected on the number of jobs held by persons in employment in the short reference period. Where the number of secondary jobs in the country is significant, it may be useful to collect information about their characteristics, including industry, occupation, status in employment, type of economic unit (formal market units/informal market units/non-market units/households), working time and employment-related income.

Unpaid trainee work

  1. Persons in unpaid trainee work are defined as all those of working age who, during a short reference period, performed any unpaid activity to produce goods or provide services for others, in order to acquire workplace experience or skills in a trade or profession, where:
    • “short reference period” is interpreted as specified in paragraph 19, and according to the source used;
    • “any activity” refers to work for at least one hour;
    • “unpaid” is interpreted as the absence of remuneration in cash or in kind for work done or hours worked; nevertheless, these workers may receive some form of support, such as transfers of education stipends or grants, or occasional in cash or in kind support (e.g. a meal, drinks);
    • production “for others” refers to work performed in market and non-market units that are owned by non-household or non-family members;
    • acquiring “workplace experience or skills” may occur through traditional, formal or informal arrangements whether or not a specific qualification or certification is issued.
  2. Included in unpaid trainee work are persons in:
    • traineeships, apprenticeships, internships or other types of programmes according to national circumstances, when their engagement in the production process of the economic unit is unpaid; and
    • unpaid skills training or retraining schemes within employment promotion programmes, when engaged in the production process of the economic unit.
  3. Excluded from unpaid trainee work:
    • periods of probation associated with the start of a job;
    • general on-the-job or lifelong learning while in employment, including in market and non-market units owned by household or family members;
    • orientation and learning while engaged in volunteer work;
    • learning while engaged in own-use production work.
  4. Essential items that need to be collected to support analysis of the characteristics and conditions of work of persons in unpaid trainee work include industry, occupation, working time, programme type and length, contract characteristics and coverage, existence of participation fees and nature of certification.

Volunteer work

  1. Persons in volunteer work are defined as all those of working age who, during a short reference period, performed any unpaid, non-compulsory activity to produce goods or provide services for others, where:
    • “any activity” refers to work for at least one hour;
    • “unpaid” is interpreted as the absence of remuneration in cash or in kind for work done or hours worked; nevertheless, volunteer workers may receive some small form of support or stipend in cash, when below one third of local market wages (e.g. for out-of-pocket expenses or to cover living expenses incurred for the activity), or in kind (e.g. meals, transportation, symbolic gifts);
    • “non-compulsory” is interpreted as work carried out without civil, legal or administrative requirement, that are different from the fulfilment of social responsibilities of a communal, cultural or religious nature;
    • production “for others” refers to work performed:
      • through, or for organizations comprising market and non-market units (i.e. organization-based volunteering) including through or for self-help, mutual aid or community-based groups of which the volunteer is a member;
      • for households other than the household of the volunteer worker or of related family members (i.e. direct volunteering).
  1. Excluded from volunteer work:
  • community service and work by prisoners ordered by a court or similar authority, compulsory military or alternative civilian service;
  • unpaid work required as part of education or training programmes (i.e. unpaid trainees);
  • work for others performed during the working time associated with employment, or during paid time off from an employee job granted by the employer.
  1. Essential items that should be collected for national accounts and sectoral analyses of volunteer work include the working time associated with each relevant activity cluster, the industry, occupation, and type of economic unit (market units/non-market units/households).

Measures of labour underutilization

  1. Labour underutilization refers to mismatches between labour supply and demand, which translate into an unmet need for employment among the population. Measures of labour underutilization include, but may not be restricted to:
    • time-related underemployment, when the working time of persons in employment is insufficient in relation to alternative employment situations in which they are willing and available to engage;
    • unemployment, reflecting an active job search by persons not in employment who are available for this form of work;
    • potential labour force, referring to persons not in employment who express an interest in this form of work but for whom existing conditions limit their active job search and/or their availability.
  2. These measures are the basis to produce headline indicators for labour market monitoring. For more comprehensive assessment they can be used with other indicators relating to the labour market, as recommended in paragraph 76, in particular skill-related inadequate employment and income-related inadequate employment as per the relevant international statistical standards.
  3. Other dimensions of underutilization of labour at the level of individuals as well as the economy are skills mismatches and slack work, in particular among the self-employed.

Time-related underemployment

  1. Persons in time-related underemployment are defined as all persons in employment who, during a short reference period, wanted to work additional hours, whose working time in all jobs was less than a specified hours threshold, and who were available to work additional hours given an opportunity for more work, where:
    • the “working time” concept is hours actually worked or hours usually worked, dependent on the measurement objective (short or long-term situations) and in accordance with the international statistical standards on the topic;
    • “additional hours” may be hours in the same job, in an additional job(s) or in a replacement job(s);
    • the “hours threshold” is based on the boundary between full-time and part-time employment, on the median or modal values of the hours usually worked of all persons in employment, or on working time norms as specified in relevant legislation or national practice, and set for specific worker groups;
    • “available” for additional hours should be established in reference to a set short reference period that reflects the typical length of time required in the national context between leaving one job and starting another.
  2. Depending on the working time concept applied, among persons in time-related underemployment (i.e. who wanted and were “available” to work “additional hours”), it is possible to identify the following groups:
    • persons whose hours usually and actually worked were below the “hours threshold”;
    • persons whose hours usually worked were below the “hours threshold” but whose hours actually worked were above the threshold;
    • persons “not at work” or whose hours actually worked were below the “hours threshold” due to economic reasons (e.g. a reduction in economic activity including temporary lay-off and slack work or the effect of the low or off season).
  3. In order to separately identify the three groups of persons in time-related underemployment, information is needed on both hours usually worked and hours actually worked. Countries using only one working time concept will cover, for hours usually worked, the sum of groups (a) and (b); for hours actually worked, the group (c), so long as the reasons for being “not at work” or for working below the “hours threshold” are also collected.
  4. To assess further the pressure on the labour market exerted by persons in time-related underemployment, it may be useful to identify separately persons who carried out activities to seek “additional hours” in a recent period that may comprise the last four weeks or calendar month.

Unemployment

  1. Persons in unemployment are defined as all those of working age who were not in employment, carried out activities to seek employment during a specified recent period and were currently available to take up employment given a job opportunity, where:
    • “not in employment” is assessed with respect to the short reference period for the measurement of employment;
    • to “seek employment” refers to any activity when carried out, during a specified recent period comprising the last four weeks or one month, for the purpose of finding a job or setting up a business or agricultural undertaking. This includes also part-time, informal, temporary, seasonal or casual employment, within the national territory or abroad. Examples of such activities are:
      • arranging for financial resources, applying for permits, licences;
      • looking for land, premises, machinery, supplies, farming inputs;
      • seeking the assistance of friends, relatives or other types of intermediaries;
      • registering with or contacting public or private employment services;
      • applying to employers directly, checking at worksites, farms, factory gates, markets or other assembly places;
      • placing or answering newspaper or online job advertisements;
      • placing or updating résumés on professional or social networking sites online;
    • the point when the enterprise starts to exist should be used to distinguish between search activities aimed at setting up a business and the work activity itself, as evidenced by the enterprise’s registration to operate or by when financial resources become available, the necessary infrastructure or materials are in place or the first client or order is received, depending on the context;
    • “currently available” serves as a test of readiness to start a job in the present, assessed with respect to a short reference period comprising that used to measure employment:
      • depending on national circumstances, the reference period may be extended to include a short subsequent period not exceeding two weeks in total, so as to ensure adequate coverage of unemployment situations among different population groups.
  1. Included in unemployment are:
  • future starters defined as persons “not in employment” and “currently available” who did not “seek employment”, as specified in paragraph 47, because they had already made arrangements to start a job within a short subsequent period, set according to the general length of waiting time for starting a new job in the national context but generally not greater than three months;
  • participants in skills training or retraining schemes within employment promotion programmes, who on that basis, were “not in employment”, not “currently available” and did not “seek employment” because they had a job offer to start within a short subsequent period generally not greater than three months;
  • persons “not in employment” who carried out activities to migrate abroad in order to work for pay or profit but who were still waiting for the opportunity to leave.
  1. For a structural analysis of unemployment it may be useful to collect information on the duration of the search for employment, measured from when unemployed persons began carrying out activities to “seek employment”, or from the end of their last job, whichever is shorter.
  2. Among persons in unemployment, it may be useful to identify separately those in long-term unemployment defined as those with a duration of search for employment, as specified in paragraph 49, lasting 12 months or more, including the reference period. To monitor policies related to provision of social benefits, a shorter duration limit may be used (i.e. six months or more).

Potential labour force (entrants)

  1. Potential labour force is defined as all persons of working age who, during the short reference period, were neither in employment nor in unemployment and:
    • carried out activities to “seek employment”, were not “currently available” but would become available within a short subsequent period established in the light of national circumstances (i.e. unavailable jobseekers); or
    • did not carry out activities to “seek employment”, but wanted employment and were “currently available” (i.e. available potential jobseekers).
  2. Among those in paragraph 51(b) it may be useful to identify separately discouraged jobseekers, comprising those who did not “seek employment” for labour market-related reasons as listed in paragraph 80(b).
  3. A separate group with an expressed interest in employment not included within the potential labour force but relevant for social and gender analysis in specific contexts is the willing non-jobseekers, defined as persons “not in employment” who wanted employment but did not “seek employment” and were not “currently available”.
  4. In order to identify the two categories of the potential labour force as well as the willing non-jobseekers, questions on activities to “seek employment” and “current availability” should be asked of all persons “not in employment” in the short reference period. The question to determine whether persons wanted employment should only be asked to those who did not carry out activities to “seek employment”.
  5. For purposes of computing indicators of labour underutilization (LU3 and LU4 as defined in paragraph 73(c)), the reference population used is the extended labour force, defined as the sum of the labour force plus the potential labour force.