Australia’s Time Use Survey – Frequently Asked Questions
About this survey
About this survey
I've been chosen to be in the Time Use Survey – what is this?
How is the information from this survey used and why is it important?
By taking part, you can ensure that your experiences and circumstances become part of the story of life in Australia today. Decisions about employment, families, child care and volunteering can be made by analysing data from this survey. The information you provide will help to shape policies and services which improve the lives of all Australians.
Why was my household selected?
Rather than survey the whole population, we use a scientific sampling process designed to collect data which builds a picture that includes people from all areas of Australia. All households have a chance of being selected for this important national survey.
Once a household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place, as changing the random selection could mean some parts of the community are under or over represented.
It is important that all selected households complete the survey in order to make sure the results represent the whole community. This means that decisions made about services provided by government, local councils and community groups are made using the most accurate information.
If you are unable to respond online, please call us on 1800 246 878. For more information about the ABS response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) you can visit our Information for Survey Participants page by clicking here.
Your household will have received a letter informing you about your selection in this survey. There are two parts to this survey:
Part 1: Questions about your household
The questions in the first part of this survey focus on employment, childcare and health. To answer these questions, please choose someone from your household to be your representative. This should be the person best placed to answer these kinds of questions on behalf of everyone in the household, including providing the email address for each person who is 15 years or older.
Part 2: Filling out a time use diary
If we don't hear anything from you before the due date (shown on the letter we sent), one of our interviewers may make contact to complete the survey with you and your household.
Who in my household will be required to participate?
Is the survey compulsory?
Under the Act, you are obliged to provide the information being requested, unless otherwise specified by your interviewer. All the information you provide will remain strictly confidential and is protected under the Act.
What kinds of questions will you ask?
For any personal visits, our staff will always identify themselves, show you their official ABS photo identification and clearly explain the information they are seeking and how it will be used.
You may receive calls from numbers that you are not familiar with, including mobile phone or “unknown” numbers. This is because many of our Interviewers are teleworkers and use ABS authorised mobile phones and office phones, connected to our highly secure networks, to conduct interviews over the phone.
Remember -The ABS will NEVER ask you to provide or confirm your bank details.
If you are concerned, you can call us on 1800 246 878 and we will verify your selection in the survey and the identity of the Interviewer who is contacting you.
What happens if there are people in my household who don't speak English?
Will I be paid for my time?
How will you keep my information safe, secure and confidential?
All ABS employees have signed a legally enforceable Undertaking of Fidelity and Security in which they agree to keep any information, including personal information which they may deal with in the course of their work, private and confidential. This agreement applies to ABS employees for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the ABS. The penalty for breaching this is two years imprisonment, a $26,640 fine, or both.
Will the information I provide be combined with other data?
We often combine data from two or more surveys because combining data helps fill the gaps — and saves you time. Combining data helps provide a clearer picture of Australia than what can be achieved by any one survey alone, and creates new insights about our society and the economy. By reusing existing data, we reduce the need for Australian households and businesses to provide more information.
Governments, researchers and community groups will use this vital data to better understand how Australians live and feel about different aspects of their lives. This will help design policies and services to improve the lives of Australians.
How can I provide feedback about my experience in the Time Use Survey?
You can use our feedback form to provide us with feedback. For this survey, please select the option "Participation in an ABS Household Survey".
I'm having trouble completing the survey online – where can I find help?
You can also call us on 1800 246 878 and one of our team will be happy to assist you. If you would like help with completing the time use diary, see more information under ‘Where can I find more information about completing the diary?’ section.
I'm having trouble completing my diary – where can I find help?
If you are completing a paper time use diary, and need help or more information please see the time use survey Paper Diary Help page.
If you are unsure which diary you and your household should be completing, please call us on 1800 246 878.
Who can I contact for more information?