The well-being of many people depends on unpaid work undertaken by individuals. If services such as: cooking; cleaning; domestic management; home and car maintenance; care of the frail, sick and those with disabilities; and care of children are not provided 'free', they have to be paid for as a market transaction. Therefore, some measurement of unpaid or non-market work, along with measurements of paid work and production, are necessary for a comprehensive picture of national production and consumption.
The ABS uses measurements of time spent in unpaid work as one of the statistical bases for estimating the value of unpaid work in Australia within a national accounting framework. Given the absence of an agreed international standard definition, unpaid housework forms part of the concept of committed time. The concept of committed time is based on a restricted version of the third person criterion - the market replacement criterion where an unpaid activity is considered to be unpaid work if the output produced can be purchased in the market or if the activity can be delegated in exchange for payment. The major activity groups that will be included in committed time are broadly comparable with the classification of unpaid work adopted by the ABS in Occasional Paper: Measuring Unpaid Household Work, 1992 (Cat. no. 5240.0).
The ABS restructured the Time Use Activity Classification within the framework of Dagfinn Ås' four way division of time (Ås 1982) prior to the 1997 survey. For a discussion of the identification and measurement of unpaid work and the four way division of time, see Time Use Survey, Australia Users' Guide, 1997 (Cat. no. 4150.0).