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Concepts and definitions

Work for which pay or entrepreneurial income is received

Work, also called paid work, refers to an activity producing goods or services for which monetary pay is paid or which generates entrepreneurial or sales income. Gainful work can be carried out as an employee working for an enterprise or organisation. Employer entrepreneurs, sole entrepreneurs, own-account workers, freelancers or paid family members working in a family enterprise or on a family farm are also in gainful work. Entrepreneurial work is gainful work even if no sales revenue, profit or reward has yet been received, provided that this is the purpose of the work. Even small amounts of working are taken into consideration.

In the Labour Force Survey, for example, looking after your home, looking after your own children, caring for a relative, doing renovations in your own home, building a house for your own use, tending your own yard or unpaid voluntary work are not considered gainful work. Students' unpaid practical training is not gainful work either.

Absence from work

If the respondent has not been in gainful employment at all during the survey week, he/she is asked if he/she had a job from which he/she was absent. The most common reasons for absence are holiday and illness. Even if the absence is unpaid or lasts for a long time, like childcare leave or job alternation leave, the person is considered to have a job if the respondent has a valid employment relationship to which he/she plans to return.

The place of work refers to the independent establishment where the person works. An establishment is a unit that is owned by either an enterprise or general government, is located in one place, and mainly produces one type of goods or services.

Working hours

Regular weekly working hours are asked of both employees and self-employed persons. Regular and usual working hours refer to weekly working hours that the person works in his/her main job during a normal week. It is not necessarily the same as the working hours defined in the employment contract as unpaid and paid overtime is also included in regular working hours if it has become habitual.

The actual time worked often differs from the regular weekly working hours.

The time worked includes:

  • Hours worked during normal working hours
  • Paid hours worked at home, for instance, preparation of teaching hours
  • Paid and unpaid overtime
  • Short breaks like coffee breaks
  • On-duty hours at the place of work (e.g. for doctors the time spent sleeping at the workplace is also included)
  • Participation in personnel training.

The weekly working hours are shortened by:

  • Full days of absence, for example, due to holiday or illness
  • Absences lasting less than one full day
  • Public holidays occurring during the survey week
  • Meal breaks if they are not included in the official working hours.