Hours worked (HRSP)

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Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period


This variable indicates the number of hours worked by the employed person in all jobs during the week prior to Census night. This excludes any time off but includes overtime and extra time worked.

In standard Census products the data is generally published in ranges using Hours worked (ranges) (HRWRP).


Employed persons aged 15 years and over


00-990 to 99 hours singly
&&Not stated
@@Not applicable
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Number of categories:  103

Not applicable (@@) category comprises:

  • Unemployed persons
  • Persons not in the labour force
  • Persons with Labour force status (LFSP), not stated
  • Persons aged under 15 years                             

See Understanding supplementary codes for more information.

Question(s) from the Census form

Last week, how many hours did the person work in all jobs?

How this variable is created

Data for this variable is captured automatically from written numeric responses or the 'None' mark box on the paper form. Outlying values are checked manually to ensure that they match the actual response on the form. The data may include a small proportion of persons with an unusual number of hours worked, as all numeric responses are accepted as reported.

History and changes

The question relating to Hours worked was first asked in the 1966 Census. In 1971, 1976 and since 1996, the Hours worked question has focused on hours worked in all jobs held in the week prior to the Census.

No changes have been made for 2021.

Data use considerations

Information on hours worked, classified by industry and occupation, allows changes in the labour force to be analysed. It also enhances the use of Journey to Work data for transport studies.

Hours worked, when used in combination with Labour force status (LFSP), provides information on full-time and part-time employment. For Census purposes, a person is considered to be working full-time if they worked 35 hours or more in all jobs during the week prior to Census night.

A number of regions across the country were in various stages of lockdown on Census day, and the week preceding it, resulting in a greater number of people being temporarily stood down. Even if lockdowns impacted a person's normal working hours, respondents were asked to answer this question accurately per their current situation. 

Unlike most Census variables, the non-response rate for Hours worked (HRSP) is not affected by persons who did not return a Census form because this variable is only applicable to persons with a labour force status of 'employed'. Persons who do not respond to the labour force status questions have a labour force status of not stated and fall in the 'not applicable' category within the Hours Worked variable.

The non-response rate for Hours worked (HRSP) was 1.7% in 2021. This is a decrease from 1.9% in 2016.

Related variables and glossary terms

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