6102.0.55.001 - Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/05/2013   
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21.16.1 This survey collects information about the working time arrangements of employed people. The survey was first conducted in August 1993 and is now conducted three yearly, with the most recent survey conducted in November 2012.

21.16.2 Data from this survey are used to examine the differing working arrangements, including job stability, job flexibility and scheduling of work.

21.16.3 This section describes only those aspects of the methodology that are unique to this survey, and hence should be used in conjunction with the overview part of this chapter, which outlines the survey methodology used in supplementary surveys.


21.16.4 Data from the survey are published in Working Time Arrangements, Australia (cat. no. 6342.0). Prior to 2006, survey data were published in Working Arrangements (same catalogue number). More detailed data are available on request.

21.16.5 The main populations of interest are employees in main job and employed persons. Estimates are produced on an original basis only (i.e. not seasonally adjusted) and include:

      Socio-demographic information

      Sex, age, marital status, relationship in household, state or territory of usual residence, country of birth and period of arrival and number of children in family aged under 15 years.

      Employment characteristics

      Occupation; industry; hours worked; full-time or part-time status.

      Leave entitlements

      Paid sick leave and paid holiday leave.

      Job stability

      Whether guaranteed a minimum number of hours; Whether earnings/income varied; Whether usually worked the same number of hours each week.

      Job flexibility

      Whether had an agreement to work flexible hours; Whether had say in start/finish times; Whether had say in days worked; Whether able to chose to work extra hours on order to take time off.

      Job scheduling

      Whether usually worked shift work; Days of the week usually worked; Whether usually worked extra hours or overtime and whether compensated for extra hours or overtime worked.

21.16.6 Data collected in this survey are compiled according to concepts and definitions outlined in Chapter 4 (Employment measures and classifications), Chapter 12 (Employee remuneration) and Chapter 16 (Other classifications used in labour statistics).


21.16.7 The scope of this survey is restricted to persons aged 15 years and over, who were employees in their main job. The scope excludes contributing family workers in their main job and persons aged 15-19 years who were still at school. The standard scope restrictions for supplementary surveys outlined in the overview part of Chapter 21 also apply to this survey.


21.16.8 In order to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time, changes to survey methods, survey concepts, data item definitions, frequency of collection, and analysis methods are made as infrequently as possible. Changes to the survey scope and sample size are listed below. These changes mean that the standard errors for the survey differ over time. The effect on estimates of the change in scope is considered to have been small. Changes affecting the Labour Force Survey may also affect this survey. Such changes are outlined in Chapter 20 and are not repeated here. The main changes to the Working Time Arrangements survey are outlined below.
    Work Patterns of Employees, Australia (cat. no. 6328.0) and Evening and Night Work, Australia (cat. no. 6329.0) conducted.

    Working Hours Arrangements, Australia (cat. no. 6338.0), and Working Hours Arrangements, Australia, Supplementary Tables (cat. no. 6339.0) conducted. These surveys collected information about employees current working patterns

    1982 to 1986
    Conducted in March to May 1982 and then again in September to November 1986. This survey collected information about employees current working arrangements and preferences for changes to these arrangements

    First survey of Working Arrangements, Australia conducted (August).

    Changes to Supplementary Surveys restricted the sample to no more than seven-eighths of the Labour Force Survey sample. For more information see Chapter 21 (Labour Force Supplementary Surveys). Scope changed to exclude persons attending school. Relationship in Household classification introduced. Breaks in comparability with the classification Family Status, include: Lone parents; Dependent students; Other family persons; Other family head; Other related full-time students; and Other relative of married couple or family head. For more information see Chapter 16 (Other Classifications Used in Labour Statistics - Families and Households).

    A scope change resulted in students at boarding schools, patients in hospital, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for the handicapped) and inmates of prisons being excluded. In addition, persons living in remote and sparsely settled areas were excluded. Cat. no. changed to 6342.0. From August 1997, occupation data was classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO), Second Edition (cat. no. 1220.0). Data items excluded were: whether had a rostered day off in the last four weeks; Hours worked in most recent shift; and Number of days worked in a row in most recent period of shift work.

    Additional data items collected included; number of days usually worked per week/month, whether normally works the same number of hours each week in main job (excluding overtime), whether would prefer more, less or the same number of hours as usually worked, whether works in a job-share arrangement, and main reason for working overtime in main job. In addition, there was a change of terminology: 'Permanent' was replaced by 'With leave entitlements' and 'Casual' was replaced by 'Without leave entitlements'. Data items no longer collected included size of location (employees), hours worked in main job, weekly earnings in main job, type of standard benefit received and superannuation and long service leave.

    Additional data items were collected relating to hours, provision of paid maternity/paternity leave, hours worked in most recent shift, time worked with current employer or business, duration and multiple jobholder status in reference week. A number of changes were made to data items. The type of standard benefit received - holiday leave/ sick leave' was replaced with 'Provision of paid holiday leave' and 'Provision of paid sick leave'. 'Whether used formal child care in the last four weeks', time period reduced to 'last two weeks' . 'Main reason did not use formal child care', time period qualified by 'last two weeks'. 'Type of child care used in the last four weeks', time period reduced to 'last two weeks'. 'Whether had an absence from main job in the last two weeks' replaced with 'Whether had an absence of at least three hours from main job in the last two weeks'. 'Type of leave taken for most recent absence' - output categories no longer collected: Flex time/time off in lieu; Workers' compensation; Rostered Day Off (RDO); and Self-Employed (no leave).

    The Working Arrangements Survey was redeveloped and renamed the Working Time Arrangements Survey. Information collected in the Working Arrangements Survey about trade union membership, rostered days off, reasons for usually working less than 35 hours a week, job-sharing, absences from work and formal and informal child care no longer collected.
    Industry data classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006, Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) (cat. no. 1292.0). Occupation data classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition. (cat. no. 1221.0).

    The data item relating to whether usually worked extra hours or overtime and how compensated for overtime worked was refined to include paid and unpaid overtime. Data items relating to shift work were introduced. In 2006 only employees who did not usually work the same number of hours of work each week received questions about whether they were guaranteed a minimum number of hours of work each week. In 2009 all employees were asked whether they were guaranteed a minimum number of hours of work each week.

    The data item relating to hours usually worked between 7am and 7pm, which was not available in 2009, was reinstated. However, the data item has been changed to 'Whether usually worked the majority of hours between 7am and 7pm in all jobs' affecting comparability with data from 2006. Data item relating to hours worked in a shift changed from collecting information about the most recent shift to collecting usual hours worked in a shift.


21.16.9 For further details contact the Labour Market Statistics Section in Canberra on (02) 6252 7206 or email <labour.statistics@abs.gov.au.>.

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