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Metadata for Official Statistics

Definitions: EU-LFS

In order to highlight concepts from the EU-LFS series selected definitions from the terminology of official statistics will be explained below alongside the associated variables.

Socio-demographic dimensions

Age

Definition "The age of the respondent is calculated from the year of birth. For persons born in the same year, those whose birthdays fall between 1 January and the end of the reference week are, for the purposes of survey results analysis, regarded as being one year older than those whose birthdays fall after the end of the reference week. This definition applies to all tables incorporating an age structure."
Variables YEARBIR, AGE
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Nationality

Definition "Nationality should be interpreted as citizenship. Citizenship is defined as the particular legal bond between an individual and his/her State acquired by birth or naturalisation, whether by declaration, option, marriage or other means according to national legislation. It corresponds to the country issuing the passport."
Variables NATIONAL
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Marital status

Definition

"Marital status is the conjugal status of each individual in relation to the marriage laws of the country (i.e. de jure status). It therefore does not necessarily correspond with the actual situation of the household in terms of co-habitation arrangements.

Some countries have a legal framework for registering partnerships (in most countries these are same-sex partnership and they have a legal status parallel to married couples). Such information has also to be treated in a harmonised way so they should be treated as married and classified under group 2 when the partnership still exists, else as 3-4 as appropriate (legal separation or death of one of the partners)."

Variables MARSTAT
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Degree of urbanization

Definition

2012 and subsequent years:
"The concept of "urbanisation" has been introduced to indicate the character of the area where the respondent lives. Three types of area have been identified and defined using a criterion of geographical contiguity in combination with a minimum population threshold based on population grid square cells of 1 sq km. These grid cells all have the same shape and surface, which avoids distortions caused by using units varying in size. The three types to be distinguished are: densely-populated (Code 1), intermediate (Code 2), thinly-populated (Code 3).

The degree of urbanisation creates a classification of all LAU2s (Local Administrative Units – Level 2) as follows:

  1. Thinly populated area (alternative name: rural area): More than 50% of the population lives in rural grid cells.
  2. Intermediate density area (alternative name: towns and suburbs/small urban area): Less than 50% of the population lives in rural grid cells and less than 50% lives in high-density clusters.
  3. Densely populated area: (alternative names: cities/large urban area): At least 50% lives in high-density clusters.

In the above, the following definitions are used:

  • Rural grid cells: Grid cells outside urban clusters.
  • Urban clusters: clusters of contiguous5 grid cells of 1 sq km with a density of at least 300 inhabitants per sq km and a minimum population of 5 000.
  • High-density cluster: Contiguous6 grid cells of 1 sq km with a density of at least 1 500 inhabitants per sq km and a minimum population of 50 000. (Alternative names: urban centre or city centre).

In order to classify properly LAU2s based on the grid cell approach described, a few additional correction rules must be provided:

  • If the LAU2s do not have a raster equivalent, they are classified according to the share of territory in rural grid cells and high-density clusters.
  • Thinly populated LAU2s may be classified as intermediate or densely populated due to border effects if rural grid cells cover most of the territory. For that reason, LAU2s with a population below 5000 inhabitants and 90% of its area in rural grid cells are reclassified as rural area.
  • Very small densely populated LAU2s may be classified as thinly populated due to the coarse resolution of the population grid. For that reason, LAU2s with an area less than 5 sq km but with a share of surface outside rural grid cells higher than 30 % are reclassified as intermediate density or densely populated according to the share of the correspondent cluster.

As LAU2s vary considerably in area, this methodology will lead to a closer match between a igh-density cluster and densely populated LAU2s in countries with small LAU2s than in those with large LAU2s.

To take this difference into account, the classification can be adjusted as following:

  • A densely populated LAU2 can be classified intermediate as long as 75% of its highdensity cluster population remains in densely populated LAU2s.
  • An thinly populated or intermediate density LAU2 can be classified as densely populated if it belongs to a group of LAU2s with a political function and if the majority of population of this group of LAU2s lives in a high-density cluster.

A LAU2 consists of municipalities or equivalent units in the 27 EU Member States."



2006-2011:
"The concept of 'urbanisation' was introduced to indicate the character of the geographical area in which the surveyed person lives. Three types of area have been identified: densely-populated area; intermediate area; sparsely-populated area.

A set of local areas with a total area of less than 100 sq km and less than the required population density which is entirely enclosed within a densely-populated or intermediate area should be regarded as part of this area. If the area is surrounded by a densely-populated area and an intermediate area, it is regarded as part of the intermediate area.

Densely-populated area: This is a contiguous set of local areas, each of which has a density superior to 500 inhabitants per square kilometre, where the total population for the set is at least 50,000 inhabitants.

Intermediate area: This is a contiguous set of local areas, not belonging to a densely-populated area, each of which has a density superior to 100 inhabitants per square kilometre, and either with a total population for the set of at least 50,000 inhabitants or adjacent to a densely-populated area.

Thinly-populated area: This is a contiguous set of local areas belonging neither to a densely-populated nor to an intermediate area."

Variables DEGURBA
Citation Eurostat (2011): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2012Q1 onwards).
Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Labour status and main dimensions

Activity Status

Labour Status during the reference week

Definition

"Persons in employment are those coded 1 or 2.

Code 1: Did any work for pay or profit during the reference week

"Work" means any work for pay or profit during the reference week, even for as little as one hour. Pay includes cash payments or "payment in kind" (payment in goods or services rather than money), whether payment was received in the week the work was done or not.

  • Persons in vocational training (apprenticeship or traineeship) are to be considered as employed (i.e. coded 1 or 2) only if they receive payments in cash or fringe benefits. Unpaid trainees are not considered as employed and should be coded 5.

Apprenticeships and traineeships are contracts or formal arrangements for a prescribed period of time between an employer and a participant (i.e. apprentice, trainee) or an institution representing the participant. The aim of the arrangement is that the participant person gains practical experience or theoretical knowledge by working under the supervision of more experienced workers.

In apprenticeships, the participant (apprentice) always receives remuneration in cash (wage or allowance) or in kind, whereas in some cases trainees may not be remunerated (unpaid trainees). Apprentices or trainees are often paid at a lower rate than other jobs; the difference is compensated by the gain of knowledge or/and work experience.

All apprenticeships are (part of) formal education programmes (as defined by ISCED 2011). The programme duration can vary from 6 months to 6 years. Learning time alternates between periods of practical training at the workplace (inside or outside the employer premises) and general/theoretical education in an educational institution or training centre on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. Upon successful completion as evidenced by a qualification or certificate, apprenticeships qualify for employment in a specific occupation or group of occupation.

Traineeships can be proposed within formal education programmes (generally for shorter duration than apprenticeships, with or without specific requirements for the successful completion of the educational programme) or within non-formal education and training programmes e.g. traineeship organised by Public Employment Services for unemployed people. Trainees are to be considered as employed only if the payments in cash or fringe benefits are directly connected to their participation in the traineeship.

Some working arrangements between members of the same family could have similarities both with unpaid family workers and unpaid trainees. By convention, working arrangements between members of the same household should be treated after the implementation rules for unpaid family workers (see below).

  • Self-employed persons with a business, farm or professional practice are also considered to be working if one of the following applies:
    • A person works in his own business, professional practice or farm for the purpose of earning a profit, even if the enterprise is failing to make a profit.
    • A person spends time on the operation of a business, professional practice or farm even if no sales were made, no professional services were rendered, or nothing was actually produced (for example, a farmer who engages in farm maintenance activities; an architect who spends time waiting for clients in his/her office; a fisherman who repairs his boat or nets for future operations; a person who attends a convention or seminar).
    • A person considered as self-employed in the process of setting up a business, farm or professional practice; any initiative has to be done to run the business, as the buying or installing of equipment, renting the office or ordering of supplies in preparation for opening a new business.
  • Unpaid family workers: Persons working in a family business or on a family farm without pay should be living in the same household as the owner of the business or farm, or in a slightly broader interpretation, in a house located on the same plot of land and with common household interests. Such people frequently receive remuneration in the form of fringe benefits and payments in kind. However, this applies only when the business is owned or operated by the individual themselves or by a relative. Thus, unpaid voluntary work done for charity should not be included.
    The category includes:
    • A son or daughter living inside the household and working in the parents' business or on the parents' farm without pay.
    • A wife who assists her husband in his business, e.g. a haulage contractor, without receiving any formal pay.
  • Persons raising agricultural products are coded 1 or 2 if they are the owners of the agricultural output (e.g. crop, cattle, timber, fish catch, etc.) and fulfil one of the following conditions:
    1. The agricultural output is intended to be sold or bartered, even if only a small part of it. If the respondent can not say if the output will be sold or bartered (as opposed to fully used for own-consumption), the fact that the previous harvest or the production of the previous year was sold or bartered can be taken as indication.
    2. The agricultural output is intended exclusively for own-consumption and it is an important contribution to the total consumption of the household.

    Persons fulfilling one of these conditions are coded 1 if they worked at least one hour during the reference week. Persons fulfilling one of these conditions but not having worked for at least one hour during the reference week (e.g. because they are out of season) are coded 2.

    Persons doing minor agricultural activities for leisure or to supplement the household food supply, which do not constitute an important contribution to the total household consumption, should be coded 5, in the absence of any other work for pay or profit.

  • Persons who are obliged to perform some work to keep receiving unemployment benefits
    In some countries, unemployed (under special circumstances) have to perform some work to keep receiving the unemployment allowances. If they have performed some work during the reference week, they should be coded 1.
  • Persons who are building a house
    If a person is building a house in order to earn a future financial profit (renting or selling it), he should be considered as employed (code 1 if he worked during the reference week, otherwise code 2). Building a house for only a family use is not enough to be considered as employed.
  • Conscripts performing some work for pay or profit during the reference week should always be coded 4.
  • Persons in paid employment who were on training during the whole reference week should be coded 1 if one of the three following statements is true:
    • the participation of the employee is required by the employer.
    • the training takes place inside normal working hours.
    • the training is directly connected to the current job.

Code 2: Was not working but had a job or business from which he/she was absent during the reference week

  • In general, the notion of temporary absence from work refers to situations in which a period of work is interrupted by a period of absence. This implies that persons are generally to be considered as having been temporarily absent from work and therefore employed, if they had already worked at their current activity and were expected to return to their work after the period of absence. Persons without work who had made arrangements to take up paid employment or to engage in some self-employment activity at a date subsequent to the reference period, but who had not yet started work, are not to be considered as temporarily absent from work.
  • For employees
    A job exists if there is a definite and pre-scheduled arrangement between an employer and employee for regular work (that is, every week or every month), whether the work is full-time or part-time. The number of hours of work done each week or each month may vary considerably, but as long as some work is done on a regular and scheduled basis, a job is considered to exist.
    In the case of employees, a person absent from work should be considered as employed if there is a formal attachment to the job, for example if at least one of the following criteria is fulfilled:
    • the continued receipt of wage or salary, AND an assurance of a return to work (or an agreement as to the date of return) following the end of the contingency.
    • the elapsed duration of absence from the job which, wherever relevant, may be that duration for which workers can receive compensation benefits without obligation to accept other jobs.
  • Seasonal workers
    During the off-season, seasonal workers are considered as having a formal attachment to their high-season if:
    • they have an assurance to come back to work with the same employer at the beginning of the next season, AND
    • the employer continues to pay at least 50% of their wage or salary during the off-season.
      In this case they have to be coded 2 during the off-season.
      In other cases, they have to be considered as not employed (code 5).
  • Maternity and paternity leave
    Maternity leave is first given to the mother (but may include the leave of the father in the case of a transfer of the entitlements) and corresponds to the compulsory or statutory period of the leave stipulated by national legislation to ensure that mothers before and after childbirth have sufficient rest, or for a period to be specified according to national circumstances.
    People on maternity leave should always be coded 2 in col. 24. Paternity leave is also included under this code.
  • For unpaid family workers
    The unpaid family worker can be said to have a job but not be at work if there is a definite commitment by the employer (a related household member) to accept his/her return to work and the total absence do not exceed a period of 3 months. In this point Eurostat diverges from the ILO recommendation. If the period of absence exceeds 3 months they should be coded 5 in col. 24.
  • For self-employed persons
    If self-employed persons are classified as being absent from work, then they are regarded as in employment only if they can be said to have a business, farm or professional practice to which they intend to return. This can be the case if one or more of the following conditions are met:
    • Machinery or equipment of significant value, in which the person has invested money, is used by him or his employees in conducting his business.
    • An office, store, farm or other place of business is maintained.
    • There has been some advertisement of the business or profession by listing the business in the telephone book, displaying a sign, distributing cards or leaflets, etc.

    If none of these conditions is met, then the person is regarded as not being in employment and therefore should be coded 5 in col 24.

Code 3: Was not working because on lay-off

  • A person on lay-off is one whose written or unwritten contract of employment, or activity, has been suspended by the employer for a specified or unspecified period at the end of which the person concerned has a recognised right or recognised expectation to recover employment with that employer.

Lay-offs are classified as employed if they have an assurance of return to work within a period of 3 months or receive 50% of their wage or salary from their employer.

Lay-offs are classified as unemployed if they receive less than 50% of their wage or salary from their employer, don't have assurance of return to work or have an agreed date but this date falls after a period of 3 months and if they are "available to start work in 2 weeks" and have "actively searched for a job in the last 4 weeks".

Otherwise they are considered as inactive.

Persons without employment during the reference week but who have found a job to start in the future should always be coded 5 in this column."

Variables WSTATOR
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Unemployment

Definition

"Unemployed persons comprise persons aged 15 to 74 years who were:

  1. not employed according to the definition of employment above;
  2. currently available for work, i.e. were available for paid employment or self-employment before the end of the two weeks following the reference week;
  3. actively seeking work, i.e. had taken specific steps in the four week period ending with the reference week to seek paid employment or self-employment or who found a job to start later, i.e. within a period of at most three months from the end of the reference week.
For the purposes of point (3), the following are considered as specific steps:
  1. Having been in contact with a public employment office to find work, whoever took the initiative (renewing registration for administrative reasons only is not an active step),
  2. having been in contact with a private agency (temporary work agency, firm specialising in recruitment, etc.) to find work,
  3. applying to employers directly,
  4. asking among friends, relatives, unions, etc., to find work,
  5. placing or answering job advertisements,
  6. studying job advertisements,
  7. taking a recruitment test or examination or being interviewed,
  8. looking for land, premises or equipment,
  9. applying for permits, licenses or financial resources.
Education and training are considered as ways of improving employability but not as methods of seeking work.
  • Persons without work and in education or training will only be classified as unemployed if they are "currently available for work" and "seeking work", as defined in points (2) and (3).
  • During the off-season, seasonal workers cannot be considered as having a formal attachment to their high-season job because they do not continue to receive a wage or salary from their employer although they may have an assurance of return to work. If they are not at work during the off-season, they are classified as unemployed only if they are "currently available for work" and "seeking work", as defined in points (2) and (3).
  • Exceptions to the standard age group 15 to 74 are: 16 to 74 years in Spain, Sweden (until 2000), United Kingdom, Norway (until 2005) and Iceland.
    Before 2001 unemployment results used to refer to persons aged 15 years and more."

Variables MAINSTAT, ILOSTAT
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status.

Duration of unemployment

Definition

2008:

"In the case of unemployed persons, this variable is used in the estimation of the duration of unemployment, which is defined as the shorter of the following two periods: the length of time since last employment (see notes on Cols. 85-90) and the duration of search for work.

  • The period of search should be the last continuous period of active search without significant interruption (in this case significant means at least four weeks).
  • For people who have found a job which will start later the period of search starts at the beginning of the search and ends when the person finds the job."

2006-2007:

"In the case of unemployed persons, this variable is used in the estimation of the duration of unemployment, which is defined as the shorter of the following two periods: the length of time since last employment (see notes on Cols. 85-90) and the duration of search for work."

Variables DURUNE, SEEKDUR
Citation Eurostat (2008): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2008Q1 onwards).
Eurostat (2006): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2006Q1 onwards).

Active Population

Definition

"The economic active population comprises employed and unemployed persons."

Variables MAINSTAT, ILOSTAT
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Employed persons

Definition

"Employed persons comprise persons aged 15 years and more who were in one of the following categories:

  • (a) persons who during the reference week worked for at least one hour for pay or profit or family gain.
  • (b) persons who were not at work during the reference week but had a job or business from which they were temporarily absent.
This definition is applicable to employees, self-employed persons and family workers. Pay includes cash payments or 'payment in kind'(payment in goods or services rather than money), whether payment was received in the week the work was done or not.
Exceptions to the standard age group 15 years and more are: 16 years and more in Spain, Sweden (until 2001) and United Kingdom; 15 to 74 years in Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Finland, Sweden (2001 onwards) and Norway (2006 onwards); 16-74 in Iceland and Norway (until 2005)."

Variables MAINSTAT, ILOSTAT, EXIST2J, EXISTPR
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Unemployed persons

Definition

"Unemployed persons comprise persons aged 15 to 74 years who were:

  1. not employed according to the definition of employment above;
  2. currently available for work, i.e. were available for paid employment or self-employment before the end of the two weeks following the reference week;
  3. actively seeking work, i.e. had taken specific steps in the four week period ending with the reference week to seek paid employment or self-employment or who found a job to start later, i.e. within a period of at most three months from the end of the reference week.

For the purposes of point (3), the following are considered as specific steps:

  1. Having been in contact with a public employment office to find work, whoever took the initiative (renewing registration for administrative reasons only is not an active step),
  2. having been in contact with a private agency (temporary work agency, firm specialising in recruitment, etc.) to find work,
  3. applying to employers directly,
  4. asking among friends, relatives, unions, etc., to find work,
  5. placing or answering job advertisements,
  6. studying job advertisements,
  7. taking a recruitment test or examination or being interviewed,
  8. looking for land, premises or equipment,
  9. applying for permits, licenses or financial resources."

Variables MAINSTAT, ILOSTAT
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Inactive persons

Definition

"Inactive persons are those who neither classified as employed nor as unemployed."

Variables MAINSTAT, ILOSTAT
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Underemployed part-time workers

Definition

"Underemployed part-time workers are persons aged 15-74 working part-time who wish to work additional hours and are available to do so. Part-time work is recorded as self-reported by individuals."

Variables FTPT, WISHMORE, WAYMORE
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Persons seeking work but not immediately available

Definition

"Persons seeking work but not immediately available are the sum of persons aged 15-74 neither employed nor unemployed who:

  • Are actively seeking work during the last 4 weeks but not available for work in the next 2 weeks;
  • Found a job to start in less than 3 months and are not available for work in the next 2 weeks;
  • Found a job to start in 3 months or more;
  • Are passively seeking work during the last 4 weeks and are available for work in the next 2 weeks."
Variables SEEKWORK, AVAILBLE
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Persons available to work but not seeking

Definition

"Persons available to work but not seeking are persons aged 15-74 neither employed nor unemployed who want to work, are available for work in the next 2 weeks but are not seeking work."

Variables SEEKWORK, AVAILBLE
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Job Characteristics

Self-employed persons with employees

Definition

"Self-employed persons with employees are defined as persons who work in their own business, professional practice or farm for the purpose of earning a profit, and who employ at least one other person."

Variables STAPRO, STAPRO2J, STAPROPR
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Self-employed person not employing any employees

Definition

"Self-employed person not employing any employees are defined as persons who work in their own business, professional practice or farm for the purpose of earning a profit, and who employ no other persons."

Variables STAPRO, STAPRO2J, STAPROPR
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Employees

Definition

"Employees are defined as persons who work for a public or private employer and who receive compensation in the form of wages, salaries, fees, gratuities, payment by results or payment in kind; non-conscript members of the armed forces are also included."

Variables STAPRO, STAPRO2J, STAPROPR
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Family workers

Definition

"Family workers are persons who help another member of the family to run a farm or other business, provided they are not classed as employees."

Variables STAPRO, STAPRO2J, STAPROPR
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Economic activity

Definition

"The EU-LFS uses the Eurostat Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community (NACE) to code the economic activity. The classification of economic activity uses NACE on 3 digit level for the current main job and on 2 digit level for information on other jobs. Over time, the LFS used NACE 1970 until 1992, NACE Rev. 1 from 1993 to 2004, NACE Rev. 1.1 from 2005 to 2007, NACE Rev. 2 from 2008."

Variables NACE3D, NA113D, NACE2J2D, NA112J2D, NACEPR2D, NA11PR2D, NACE1Y2D, NA111Y2D, NACE1D, NA111D, NA11S, NACE2J1D, NA112J1D, NA112JS, NACEPR1D, NA11PR1D, NA11PRS, NACE1Y1D, NA111Y1D, NA111YS, NA702D, NA702J2D, NA70PR2D, NA701Y2D
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Occupation

Definition

"The International standard classification of occupations (ISCO) developed by the International Labour Organisation is used to measure the occupational status of employed persons. The LFS uses ISCO on 4 digit level for the main job and on 3 digit level for the previous occupation (the last digit being voluntary in both cases). The classification was last revised in 2008 (ISCO 08). The LFS uses the revised classification (ISCO-08) since 2011; ISCO-88 (COM) was used until 2010."

Variables ISCO4D, ISCOPR3D, ISCO1D, ISCOPR1D
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Employees with fixed-term contracts

Definition

"The concept of fixed-term contract is only applicable to employees, not to self-employed. In most of the EU Member States, a majority of jobs are based on written labour contracts. In some countries, however, contracts of this type are settled only in specific cases e.g. for public-sector jobs, apprentices or other trainees within an enterprise. Given these institutional discrepancies, the concepts of "temporary employment" and "work contract of limited duration" (or "permanent employment" and "work contract of unlimited duration") describe situations which, in different institutional contexts, may be considered similar."

Variables TEMP
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Working Time

Full-time/part-time

Definition

"This variable refers to the main job. The distinction between full-time and part-time work is generally based on a spontaneous response by the respondent. The main exceptions are the Netherlands and Iceland where a 35 hours threshold is applied, Sweden where a threshold is applied to the self-employed, and Norway where persons working between 32 and 36 hours are asked whether this is a full- or part-time position.

A part-time worker is "an employed person whose normal hours of work are less than those of comparable full-time workers" (International Labour Conference, 81st session, 1994)."

Variables FTPT
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status
Eurostat (2016): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2016Q1 onwards).

Number of hours usually worked per week

Definition

2008 and subsequent years:
"Usual hours worked are the modal value of the actual hours worked per week (see definition of HWACTUAL, col 63/64) over a long reference period, excluding weeks when an absence from work occurs (e.g. holidays, leaves, strikes, ...).

The number of hours usually worked per week covers all hours including extra hours, either paid or unpaid, which the person normally works, but excludes the travelling time between home and workplace and the time taken for the main meal break (usually at lunchtime) are excluded. Persons who usually also do homework are asked to include the number of hours they usually work at home. Apprentices, trainees and other persons learning a job are asked to exclude any time spent at college or in other special training centres. Some persons, particularly self-employed persons and family workers, may not have usual hours, in the sense that their hours vary considerably from week to week or month to month. If a respondent is unable to provide a figure for usual working hours for this reason, the average of hours actually worked per week over the past four weeks should is used as a measure of usual hours."

Variables HWUSUAL
Citation Eurostat (2009): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2008Q1 onwards).
Eurostat (2001): Labour Force Survey. Definition of the variables specified in Commission Regulation n� 1575/2000. REVISED VERSION.

Number of hours actually worked during the reference week

Definition

2008 and subsequent years:
"Actual hours worked in the reference week are the hours the person spends in work activities during the reference week. Work activities should include:

  • production activities: activities when directly engaged in the production of good or services as defined in the European System of Accounts.
  • ancillary activities: activities not directly intended for the production of goods or services but which are necessary to enable such production (such as travel between places of work, personnel management).
  • short pauses: interruptions in the production or ancillary activities that are the necessary consequence of the organisation of the work activities or the use of labour, such as short rest periods (incl. coffee breaks).
  • education and training which is necessary for successfully carrying out of either the production or ancillary activities.

Actual hours worked should exclude:

  • travel time between home and the place of work.
  • the main meal breaks.
  • absences from work within the working period for personal reasons (such as visits to the doctor).
  • education and training hours which are not necessary for carrying out the production or ancillary activities.

The number of hours actually worked during the reference week covers all hours including extra hours regardless of whether they were paid or not. Travel time between home and the place of work as well as the main meal breaks (normally taken at midday) are excluded. Persons who have also worked at home are asked to include the number of hours they have worked at home. Apprentices, trainees and other persons in vocational training are asked to exclude the time spent in school or other special training centres."

Variables HWACTUAL
Citation Eurostat (2009): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2008Q1 onwards).
Eurostat (2001): Labour Force Survey. Definition of the variables specified in Commission Regulation n� 1575/2000. REVISED VERSION.

Calculation of average hours

Definition

"Average hour results are computed as the mean of individual replies to the question on usual hours (or actual hours, accordingly). The frequency of each individual after grossing-up procedures is used as a weight. Non responses are not taken into account."

Variables HWUSUAL, HWACTUAL
Citation

Paid overtime hours

Definition

"Overtime hours are the number of hours actually worked by an employee in excess of his or her contractual hours of work.
Contractual hours of work are the hours the employee is expected to work in the reference week as predetermined (by order of preference) by an individual contract between the employer and the employee, by convention at the enterprise level, by collective agreement or by legislation.
Paid overtime hours are the number of hours actually worked by an employee in excess of his or her contractual or normal daily or weekly hours of work for which the employee is entitled to compensation, in pay, kind or compensatory leave.
When the person does not know his contractual hours the benchmark should be the general number of hours foreseen by the legislation for full-time workers.
Contractual hours used as benchmark to calculate the overtime hours (contractual or normal hours) should exclude the hours of absence from work during the reference week (free days, leaves, holidays, ...).
Flexitime arrangement is an agreement between the employer and the employee that requires an employee to be at work during a specified core period, but lets them otherwise arrange their hours to suit themselves. During a specific period (a fortnight, a month, a year), the employer and the employee agree on a given number of hours, but the pattern of work can vary from week to week. In this case, only hours outside the flexitime arrangement should be overtime hours. If these working hours are paid as overtime hours, then they should be included here.
Working time banking: extra working hours (hours in addition to contractual hours of work) performed in the reference week, and recuperated later (additional leave or period of rest after the reference week) should be included in overtime hours in the reference week. As there are entitled to compensatory leave, then they should be considered as paid overtime. Daily overtime compensated by time off during the reference week should be excluded here.
For teachers, paid overtime is time spent in paid courses in excess of their regular contract."

Variables HWOVERP
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Unpaid overtime hours

Definition

"Unpaid overtime hours are the number of hours actually worked by an employee in excess of his or her contractual or normal daily or weekly hours of work for which the employee is not entitled to compensation, in pay, kind or compensatory leave.
For employees, the hours have not to be explicitly required by the employer, but it has to be hours spent in activities related to the job that the employee is paid for. The hours spent in such activities but not recognised by the employer should be included in unpaid overtime.
Flexitime arrangement is an agreement between the employer and the employee that requires an employee to be at work during a specified core period, but lets them otherwise arrange their hours to suit themselves. During a specific period (a fortnight, a month, a year), the employer and the employee agree on a given number of hours, but the pattern of work can vary from week to week. In this case, only hours outside the flexitime arrangement should be overtime hours. If these working hours are not paid as overtime hours, then they should be included here.
Working time banking: extra working hours (hours in addition to contractual hours of work) performed in the reference week, and recuperated later (additional leave or period of rest after the reference week) should be considered as paid overtime and excluded for this variable. Daily overtime compensated by time off during the reference week should also be excluded here.
For teachers, unpaid overtime are hours spent in the preparation of the courses done in addition to they regular contract."

Variables HWOVERPU
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Involuntary part-time employment

Definition

"This is when respondents declare that they work part-time because they are unable to find full-time work."

Variables FTPTREAS, LOOKREAS
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Time-related underemployment

Definition

"Persons in time-related underemployment comprise all persons in employment, as defined in current international guidelines regarding employment statistics, who satisfy the following three criteria during the reference period used to define employment:

  1. "willing to work additional hours", i.e. wanted another job (or jobs) in addition to their current job (or jobs) to increase their total hours of work; to replace any of their current jobs with another job (or jobs) with increased hours of work; to increase the hours of work in any of their current jobs; or a combination of the above. In order to show how "willingness to work additional hours" is expressed in terms of action which is meaningful under national circumstances, those who have actively sought to work additional hours should be distinguished from those who have not. Actively seeking to work additional hours is to be defined according to the criteria used in the definition of job search used for the measurement of the economically active population, also taking into account activities needed to increase the hours of work in the current job;
  2. "available to work additional hours",
  3. "worked less than a threshold relating to working time".

ILO definition [16th ICLS, October 1998]"

Variables WISHMORE, LOOKREAS
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Working at home

Definition

"Working at home means doing any productive work related to the person's current job(s) at home. This concept applies also to self-employed people, for example in artistic or professional activities, who work wholly or partly at home, often in a part of their living accommodation set aside for the purpose.
However, if the place of work comprises a separate unit (for example, a doctor's surgery or tax consultant's practice) which is adjacent to the person's home but contains a separate entrance, then work performed there should not be considered to be done "at home".
Similarly, a farmer is not to be regarded as working "at home" when he is occupied in fields or buildings adjacent to his house.
Other typical examples of "working at home" include travelling salesmen who prepare at home for appointments with clients which are then held at the clients' offices or homes, or persons who do typing or knitting work which on completion is sent to a central location.
The criterion applied to code this variable is the actual frequency within a reference period of
four weeks. Therefore:
"Usually" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working at home half of the days worked in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of the reference week.
"Sometimes" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working at home less than half of the days worked, but a least one hour in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of the reference week.
"Never" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working at home on no occasion in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of reference week."

Variables HOMEWK
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Evening work

Definition

"The definitions of evening and night vary considerably so that it is not easy to establish a strictly common basis for all Member States. Generally speaking, however, "evening work" must be considered to be work done after the usual hours of working time in this Member State, but before the usual sleeping hours. This implies the possibility of sleeping at normal times (whereas "night work" implies an abnormal sleeping pattern).
The criterion applied to code this variable is the actual frequency within a reference period of four weeks. Therefore:
"Usually" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working during the evenings at least half of the days worked in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of the reference week.
"Sometimes" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working during the evenings less than half of the days worked, but a least one hour in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of the reference week.
"Never" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working during the evenings on no occasion in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of reference week."

Variables EVENWK
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Night work

Definition

"Bearing in mind the definitional problems discussed under EVENWK (Col. 57), "night work" must be generally considered to be work done during the usual sleeping hours. This implies an abnormal sleeping pattern (whereas "evening work" implies the possibility of sleeping at normal times). As foreseen by directive 2003/88/EC, the definition of usual sleeping hours can vary by country but, in any case, it should include hours between midnight and 5 a.m.
The criterion applied to code this variable is the actual frequency within a reference period of four weeks. Therefore:
"Usually" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working during the nights at least half of the days worked in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of the reference week.
"Sometimes" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working during the nights less than half of the days worked, but a least one hour in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of the reference week.
"Never" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working during the nights on no occasion in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of reference week."

Variables NIGHTWK
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Saturday working

Definition

2008 and subsequent years
"The criterion applied to code this variable is the actual frequency within a reference period of four weeks. Therefore:
"Usually" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working at least two of the Saturdays in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of the reference week.
"Sometimes" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working on one Saturday (at least one hour) in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of the reference week.
"Never" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working on Saturdays on no occasion in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of reference week.

This concept is interpreted strictly on the basis of formal agreements concluded with the employer. Employees taking office work home and/or occasionally working at the workplace on Saturday or Sunday are not generally included under this heading."

Variables SATWK
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).
Eurostat (2001): Labour Force Survey. Definition of the variables specified in Commission Regulation n.� 1575/2000. REVISED VERSION.

Sunday working

Definition

2008 and subsequent years
"The criterion applied to code this variable is the actual frequency within a reference period of four weeks. Therefore:
"Usually" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working at least two of the Sundays in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of the reference week.
"Sometimes" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working on one Sunday (at least one hour) in one occasion in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of the reference week.
"Never" in this context should be interpreted to mean: working on Sundays on no occasion in a reference period of four weeks preceding the end of reference week.

This concept is interpreted strictly on the basis of formal agreements concluded with the employer. Employees taking office work home and/or occasionally working at the workplace on Saturday or Sunday are not generally included under this heading."

Variables SUNWK
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).
Eurostat (2001): Labour Force Survey. Definition of the variables specified in Commission Regulation n.� 1575/2000. REVISED VERSION.

Shift-work

Definition

2001 and subsequent years
""Shift work" means any method of organising work in shifts whereby workers succeed each other at the same work stations according to a certain pattern, including a rotating pattern, and which may be continuous or discontinuous, entailing the need for workers to work at different times over a given period of days or weeks (definition of the directive 2003/88/EC).
Shift work usually involves work on unsocial hours in the early morning, at night or in the weekend and the weekly rest days do not always coincide with the normal rest days.
Shift work should imply changes in the working schedule. Persons having fixed assignment to a given shift should not be considered as shift-workers, even if their working schedules are defined in their establishment in terms of shift work.

(Note: The definition of shift-work changed in 2001. The previous definition can be found in the publication "The European Union Labour Force Survey - Methods and definitions 1998".)"

Variables SHIFTWK
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Education

Population in education or training

Definition

"This encompasses all education or vocational training whether or not relevant to the respondent's current or future employment. It includes initial education, additional education, continuing or additional training, training in enterprises, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, seminars and workshops, distance education, evening classes, self-learning, etc. It also includes courses followed out of personal interest. Due to the transition to harmonised concepts, several countries reported breaks in the corresponding data series."

Variables EDUCSTAT, COURATT, EDUCLEVL
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Purpose of education or training

Definition

"First of all, this questions aims at collecting information on participation in training under a specific employment measure. Secondly, the question aims at collecting individual perception of purpose. The answer does not depend on the characteristics of a programme but on the perception the individual has about his current training. This perception would usually depend on whether the person has had a previous main job before."

Variables COURPURP, PURP4W, PURP4WN
Citation Eurostat (2001): Labour Force Survey. Definition of the variables specified in Commission Regulation n.� 1575/2000. REVISED VERSION.

Highest level of education or training successfully completed

Definition

2014 and subsequent years:

"The educational attainment level of an individual is the highest ISCED level successfully completed, the successful completion of an educational programme being validated by a recognised qualification (or credential), i.e. a qualification officially recognised by the relevant national education authorities.

In countries where educational programmes belonging, in particular, to ISCED levels 1 and 2 do not lead to a qualification, the criterion of full attendance in the programme (giving access to a higher level of education) may have to be used instead. Certain qualifications obtained through non-formal education and training programmes or by validation of competences might be considered as educational attainment, provided that they are recognised by the formal education system authorities as equivalent to the qualification from a formal programme (allowing access to higher education levels in the formal education system, if relevant).

From 2014, the educational attainment level is coded according to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011) (for more information please see UNESCO site: http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/international-standard-classification-of-education.aspx)"

2012-2013:

"Level is coded according to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 97).
The expression "level successfully completed" must be associated with obtaining a certificate or a diploma, when there is a certification. In cases where there is no certification, successful completion must be associated with full attendance.
When determining the highest level, both general and vocational education/training should be taken into consideration."

Variables HATLEVEL, HATFIELD
Citation Eurostat (2014): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2014Q1 onwards).
Eurostat (2012): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2012Q1 onwards).

Formal Education

Definition

"Regular (formal education) is defined as education and training with the following characteristics:

  • purpose and format are predetermined
  • provided in the system of schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions
  • it normally constitutes a continuous ladder of education
  • it is structured in terms of learning objectives, learning time and learning support
  • it is normally intended to lead to a certification recognised by national authorities qualifying for a specific education/programme)
  • corresponds to the programmes covered by the UOE-questionnaires."

Variables EDUCSTAT
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Non-formal learning activity

Definition

"This variable covers all taught organised learning activities outside the regular education system which the respondent has attended during the last four weeks ending with the reference week.
This is what is called non-formal education. A non-formal learning activity is defined as being organised like a course, a conference or seminar. It could be for a short or a longer period, also with minor breaks. A non-formal learning activity may exceed the reference period (starting before or finishing later).

It includes the following activities:

  • attending a course or a seminar to acquire or to improve skills, knowledge and competences. This includes both courses leading to certificates and courses not leading to certificates. The courses can be attended to improve job related knowledge or improve skills for social and personal purposes;
  • attending a seminar, a course or a lecture to gain vocational guidance, to do a first step to working life (but outside formal education) or to improve basic skills in public or private institutions. The training is taught on full-or part-time basis;
  • doing a correspondence course (via tele-teaching or a comparable measure of teacher support);
  • distance learning;
  • taking private lessons to improve skills, knowledge and competences, especially as a supplement to formal education. This includes supplementary course by a private tutor and also leisure classes, e.g. studying a language for "leisure" purposes."
Variables COURATT, COURFILD
Citation Eurostat (2009): Labour Force Survey Revised Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2008Q1 onwards).

Household Structure

Dependent Child

Definition

"A child is defined as a household member aged less than 25 years and in full social and economic dependence from other household member/-s (parents/adults). All household members aged below 15 are by default considered 'children', whereas an additional check on the social and economic dependence is required for the household members aged between 15 and 24. The check is based on the LFS variables determining whether a person is living in a common household with a parent (HHMOTH/HHFATH) and whether a person perceives her-/himself as economically inactive (MAINSTAT) or, in lack of this information, is considered inactive according to the ILO definition or works for a very limited number of hours (less than 10 hours a week)."

Variables HHCHILDR, HHNBCHLD, HHNBPERS
Citation Statistics explained: EU-LFS concept of labour force status

Private Household

Definition

"A private household (housekeeping unit concept) is either:

  1. a one-person household, i.e. a person who lives alone in a separate housing unit or who occupies, as a lodger, a separate room (or rooms) of a housing unit but does not join with any of the other occupants of the housing unit to form part of a multi-person household as defined below, or
  2. a multi-person household, i.e. a group of two or more persons who combine to occupy the whole or part of a housing unit and to provide themselves with food and possibly other essentials for living. Members of the group may pool their incomes to a greater or lesser extent.

The household-dwelling concept (the aggregate number of persons occupying a housing unit) can equally be accepted.
These definitions comprise all persons living in the households surveyed during the reference week, and those persons absent from the household for short periods due to studies, holidays, illness, business trips, etc. In this context short period means less than one year in total (time already elapsed plus the time remaining until the foreseen return)."

Variables HHTYPE, HHLINK, HHPRIV
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).

Institutional Household

Definition

"An institutional household comprises persons whose need for shelter and subsistence are being provided by an institution."

Variables HHINST
Citation Eurostat (2010): EU Labour Force Survey. Explanatory Notes (to be applied from 2011Q1 onwards).