Concepts and definitions

Absence from working life due to child care

In the Quality of Work Life Survey the respondents are inquired whether they have been absent from working life due to child care during their life.

This means generally a longer absence from work caused only by family leave, child home care leave or other child care - occasional, short absences are not included, such as a child falling ill. If the person has had several maternity leaves, the periods are added up.

Absence is also the time when in addition to child care the person has worked only occasionally or little (under 5 hours per week).

If the respondent has been on maternity or paternal leave or taken care of children direct after school/studies before starting paid employment, this time is also counted as absence from working life.

Day work

The working time starts and ends between 6 am and 6 pm.

Distance work

Distance work refers to paid work that is done outside the actual workplace - such as at home, summer cottage or when travelling on the train - so that it has been agreed upon with the employer. Distance work generally involves use of information technology. Distance work is in its nature such that it could also be performed at place of work. For example, the work of a telephone installer or messenger is not considered distance work. Work arrangements independent of time and place are essential for distance work. Partial distance working is also counted as distance work.

Educational level

The data on education are based on Statistics Finland's Register of Completed Education and Degrees.

Six categories are used for the level of education in vital statistics: basic level, upper secondary level, lowest level tertiary, lower-degree level tertiary, higher-degree level tertiary and doctorate or equivalent level. Educational level is measured by the duration of education.

Those with basic level qualifications have had at most nine years of education, with leaving certificates from primary schools, middle schools and comprehensive schools.

Those having completed the upper secondary level of education have spent 11 to 12 years in education. These qualifications include matriculation examination, vocational qualifications attained in 1-3 years and further vocational qualifications.

Lowest level tertiary education lasts 2 to 3 years after upper secondary education. Examples of these qualifications include qualification of technician engineer, diploma in business and administration and diploma in nursing, which are not polytechnic degrees. Those having completed lower-degree level tertiary education have had 3 to 4 years of education after upper secondary education.

Lower-degree level tertiary education comprises polytechnic degrees and lower university degrees.

Higher-degree level tertiary education comprises education with a duration of 5 to 6 years after upper secondary education. This type of education leads to higher university degrees (master's degree) and specialist's degrees in medicine.

Completion of doctorate or equivalent level tertiary education requires independent research work or doctorate theses fit for publication. The degrees are scientific licentiate and doctorate degrees.


Employee is a person who works in paid employment for a pay or fee. Employees are further classified into manual workers and salaried employees.

Employer sector

The employed are divided according to the employer into public and private sectors. The public sector is sub-divided into state and municipalities. In the Labour Force Survey the employer sector is determined on the basis of the information on the job or enterprise in the Business Register. The classification differs to some extent from that used in the National Accounts.

Fixed-term job

Employees with an employment contract for a fixed term, for a trial period, or for carrying out certain tasks are considered as being in temporary employment.

Full-time work

Employees or self-employed persons who report they work full-time in their main job are classified as full-time workers. The definition is not based on any hour limits, but on the respondent's own idea of the work being full-time.

Inappropriate treatment

According to Section 28 of the Occupation Safety and Health Act that entered into force in January 2003, if harassment or other inappropriate treatment of an employee occurs at work and causes hazards or risks to the employee's health, the employer, after becoming aware of the matter, shall by available means take measures for remedying this situation.

Local kind of activity unit (Establishment)

An establishment, or local kind-of-activity unit, is a production unit owned by one enterprise or quasicorporate unit, located on one site, and producing goods or services of mainly one particular type. Establishments include, e.g., factories, shops, market stalls and kiosks. Establishments within public administration include, e.g., tax offices, municipal libraries and health care centres.

The establishment is a key unit in the application of the Standard Industrial Classification because

  • data by establishment gives the best picture of the structure of the economy,
  • establishments can be used for collecting data and producing statistics on the activities of enterprises by geographical and administrative area,
  • it is fastest and most economical to collect many basic data related to production, such as numbers of items produced and hours worked, directly from establishments,
  • establishments make it possible to obtain data by industry on enterprises operating within several industries,
  • all statistics on persons describe the distribution of the population by industry or economic activity through establishments.

As an enterprise always operates at some location, it has at least one establishment. Most enterprises have a single establishment while the largest enterprises may have numerous establishments in different parts of the country. Furthermore, these may operate in different economic sectors.

Long-term illness

Illnesses for which the respondent receives regular care or for which he or she is monitored by a physician or the health care in general. It can also be a question of allergy.

Long-term here refers to a period of at least six months: the person has been bothered by the problem for at least six months at the time of interview, or it will probably continue so long that its duration will be at least six months.

Mental violence

Mental violence or bullying at work refers to isolation, invalidating of work, threats, talking behind one's back and other pressurising directed to a member of the work community. Mental violence may be perpetrated by the supervisor or colleagues, but also by customers or students.

Number of occupations during life

The number of those occupations the respondent has engaged in when gainful employment has been the main activity. Occupations of those employed with subsidised measures are included, but not such as occasional summer work.


Data on occupations are based on the interviewees' own reporting in the Labour Force Survey. The occupation of an employed person is defined according to the occupation in the main job. The occupation of an unemployed person is determined according to the situation before unemployment. In the Labour Force Survey the occupation is classified according to the classifications of occupations used at Statistics Finland.

Occupational accident

Occupational accidents are such employment accidents for which insurance companies have paid compensation.

An occupational accident is defined in Section 4 of the Employment Accidents Act. An employment accident means any accident causing injury or illness sustained by the employee in the course of his/her employment or in circumstances arising from employment. According to the act, employment accidents are divided according to the place of accident as follows:

  • an employment accident has occurred at work or in work-related circumstances. Then traffic accidents while at work are also defined as employment accidents.
  • commuting accident has occurred outside the actual working time while commuting from his/her residence to work or vice versa.

Part-time work

Employees or self-employed persons who report they work part-time in their main job are classified as part-time workers. The definition is not based on any hour limits, but on the respondent's own idea of the work being part-time.

Performance-related pay

Performance-related pay is a general designation for various items paid on top of pay based on results and profits. They can be divided into main types, which are called performance bonus, profit bonus and profit distribution item. Performance payment does not here include various share and incentive stock option arrangements.

Period work

Period work is a working time balancing system where daily or weekly working hours may exceed the maximum number of hours prescribed in law (8 h per day or 40 h per week), but the number of working hours is balanced off within a certain longer time period.

Regular evening work

Part of the working time is regularly after 6 pm but mostly before 9 pm.

Regular night work

Most of the working time is regularly between 9 pm and 6 am.


Rehabilitation is here defined fairly broadly; it also includes activities arranged at workplaces for maintaining working capacity or increasing welfare at work. It is essential whether the person regards the activity as rehabilitation.


The information about sex has been obtained from the Population Information System.

Successive employment relationships

Successive employment relationships refer to so-called chained employment relationships for the same employer, which follow each other almost immediately - after a break of at most one week.

In the field of education employment relationships with a break of the whole summer can be taken into account. It is quite common in the branch that a fixed-term employment relationship ends at the beginning of the summer when the term ends, and a new employment relationship is started in the autumn at the beginning of the term.

Team work

Team work refers to working in a permanent group or team, which has a common task and has the opportunity to plan its work.

A group is often defined as a continuously interacting community or set formed by two or more people with common goals. In working life groups and teams can be founded to look after a continuing task or production or on the other hand, for some restricted task only.

It is a question of the respondent doing his or her normal work in a group or in several groups. Included are not some separate representative tasks demanding only little working time in different work groups. On the other hand, group working is difficult to distinguish from a small work unit that works according to a certain division of work. The respondent's personal opinion is here decisive: whether he or she calls his or her work team or group work. In some branches, such as the metal industry, the corresponding units are called cells.

Three-shift work

Work takes place in three shifts around the day (morning, evening and night shift). Can be interrupted (e.g. production is interrupted for the weekend at workplace) or uninterrupted. Four-shift, five-shift and six-shift work are forms of uninterrupted three-shift work and they thus belong here.

Unpaid overtime

In the Quality of Work Life Survey, overtime without compensation is dependent on the respondent's own opinion. Some may consider overtime staying at work without compensation for five minutes over working time, some do not count a short time over working time as working overtime.

If the respondent works overtime, for which he or she gets compensation as time off but in practice never has time to take all that time off, this can be regarded as overtime without compensation.

The maximum working time prescribed in the working hours legislation also concerns upper salaried employees even if they said that they had signed an employment contract where overtime is regarded as being included in their pay. Only the very top management remains outside the Working Hours Act.

Contract or project workers do not have agreed working time but they are paid on completed work. Then they cannot in principle work overtime either. If the respondent thinks he or she works much more than normal working time (e.g. over 40 hours per week), this can be counted as overtime without compensation.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Quality of work life [e-publication].
ISSN=2342-2890. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 18.3.2018].
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