2901.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary, 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/08/2016   
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Unpaid work

Questions on unpaid work are applicable to people aged 15 years and over, and are separate from the labour force questions. They cover the following topics:
    • Voluntary work through or for an organisation or group in the previous twelve months
    • Caring for a person who has a disability, a long-term illness or problems related to old age in the previous two weeks
    • Caring for a child aged less than 15 years (including own child) in the previous two weeks and
    • Domestic work for own household in the previous week.

For each topic, respondents were asked to indicate whether they had done any unpaid work or not in the relevant reference period. Respondents were asked to indicate in broad ranges the number of hours spent doing unpaid domestic work, but were not asked about time spent on the other types of unpaid work.

Data from these questions may be used in the planning of local facilities, services such as day care and occasional care, and in the provision of information and support to carers. They will help in understanding the way individuals and families balance paid work with other important aspects of their lives, such as family and community commitments.

The 2006 Census was the first Census to include questions on unpaid work.

Voluntary Work for an Organisation or Group (VOLWP) - This consists of help willingly given, in the form of time, service or skills, to a club, organisation or association in the previous twelve months.

Unpaid voluntary work can include:
    • assisting at organised events and with sports organisations
    • helping with organised school events and activities
    • assisting in churches, hospitals, nursing homes and charities
    • other kinds of volunteer work (e.g. emergency services, serving on a committee for a club, etc.).

Unpaid work involving the care of a child or a person who has a disability, a long-term illness or problems with old age, where that care was given through a club, organisation or association, is included.

Voluntary work excludes unpaid work done through a club, organisation or association in order to qualify for government benefits such as Newstart Allowance, to obtain an educational qualification or due to a community work order. It also excludes any activity which is part of a person's paid employment or working in a family business. Unpaid work in a family business is regarded as employment rather than voluntary work.

Unpaid Assistance to a Person with a Disability (UNCAREP) - This consists of unpaid help or supervision given in the previous two weeks to another person to assist them with daily activities because of a disability, a long-term health condition or problems related to old age. A long-term illness is one that has lasted or is likely to last for six months or more. The care could have been provided to family members or other people, but excludes care given through an organisation or club.

Unpaid caring can include, but is not limited to:
    • bathing, dressing, toileting and feeding someone
    • helping someone to move around
    • helping someone to understand or be understood by others
    • providing emotional support to someone and helping them to maintain friendships and social activities
    • helping with or supervising medication or dressing wounds
    • cleaning, laundry, cooking, managing diets and preparing meals
    • performing housework, light household repairs or maintenance
    • managing household finances
    • driving or accompanying someone to appointments and activities.

Care provided by recipients of Carer Allowance or Carer Payment is included as unpaid care.

Unpaid Child Care (CHCAREP) - This consists of time spent in the previous two weeks caring for a child or children aged less than 15 years without being paid. This includes people caring for their own children, whether they usually live with them or not. It also includes people looking after other children, such as grandchildren, the children of other relatives, or the children of friends or neighbours. Care for a child given through an organisation or club is excluded. Respondents were asked to indicate whether care was given for their own child and/or another child.

Unpaid Domestic Work: Number of Hours (DOMP) - This consists of the time people spent in the previous week doing domestic work without pay for themselves and their household, whether in their own home or in other places. Respondents were asked to provide (in broad ranges) the number of hours spent doing unpaid domestic work in the previous week.

Unpaid domestic work can include:
  • meal preparation, service and clean-up
  • washing, ironing and managing clothes
  • any other housework
  • gardening, mowing and yard work
  • home maintenance
  • car/ bike maintenance
  • household shopping and managing household financial affairs
  • maintaining home internet connections and computer systems.

Any domestic work done as part of paid employment is excluded.

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