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Glossary and references


Actual hours worked in employment

The number of hours a respondent actually works in employment during a particular reference period.


The definition of employed is given in the statistical standard labour force status that is, all people aged 15 and over who during the reference period:

  • worked for one hour or more for pay, profit or payment in kind in a job, business, farm or professional practice
  • worked without pay for one hour or more in work which contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business or professional practice operated by a relative
  • had a job or business they were temporarily absent from.

Full-time/part–time status

The full–time employed are those who usually work 30 hours or more per week, while the part–time employed usually work fewer than 30 hours per week.

Labour force status

Labour force status is the position of all people aged 15 and over in relation to the labour market.

Multiple job–holder status

Multiple job–holders are those who indicate that they work in a job other than their main job. The HLFS further defines multiple–job holders as those whose hours worked in their other job are greater than zero.

Ordinary time earnings

The gross total payout to all employees, less any overtime payments. All shift, penal and other allowances are included, as are bonuses, paid leave, and commissions earned in a specified pay period. Payments not earned in the specified pay period (eg backpay, redundancy, severance pay) and non–taxable payments, such as tool money, are excluded. Where a payment is for a period of longer than the survey pay period, only the proportion that relates to the survey pay period is counted.

Ordinary time hours

The number of hours represented by ordinary time earnings. Paid travelling time and hours represented by holiday pay and sick pay are included.

Other job(s)

Any job(s) in which the respondent works fewer, or no more, hours than the main job.

Overtime earnings

The gross total payout for overtime hours worked by all employees in the survey pay period.

Overtime hours

The actual number of hours worked in excess of the standard working hours for a particular period. Overtime can be paid or unpaid. Paid overtime means only working time paid for at overtime rates.

Paid hours (hours paid for)

The number of ordinary and overtime hours for which an employee is paid. Paid hours excludes unpaid overtime but may include some hours which are not actually worked, such as paid leave and statutory holidays.

Statistical unit

A statistical unit is the population being surveyed in order to collect information for an output variable. For example the most common statistical units for social, labour and demographic data collections are people, families, household and dwellings. Economic statistical units include enterprises, kind–of–activity units and geographic units.

The statistical unit for hours worked in employment in social collections is generally ‘a person’. In economic collections the statistical unit for hours worked in employment can be an enterprise or a business.

Usual hours worked in employment

The number of hours the respondent usually works in employment during a particular reference period, even if they did not in fact do so during the survey reference period because of temporary absences due to sickness or holidays etc.

Residual categories

Don’t know

Use of this category is discretionary. The use of a category capturing don't know responses is most applicable to household surveys where don't know may be a legitimate response to certain questions.

Refused to answer

This category is only used when it is known that the respondent has purposefully chosen not to respond to the question. Use of this residual category in processing is optional. Its use is most applicable in face–to–face or telephone interviews, but may be used in self–completed questionnaires if the respondent has clearly indicated they refuse or object to answering the question.

Response unidentifiable

This category is used when there is a response given, but:

  1. the response is illegible, or
  2. it is unclear what the meaning or intent of the response is – this most commonly occurs when the response being classified contains insufficient detail, is ambiguous or is vague, or
  3. the response is contradictory eg, both the yes and no tick boxes have been ticked, or
  4. the response is clear and seemingly within the scope of the classification but can not be coded because no suitable option (particularly other residual category options such as 'not elsewhere classified' or 'not further defined') exists in the classification or codefile.
Response outside scope

This category is used for responses that are positively identified (ie the meaning and the intent are clear) but which clearly fall outside the scope of the classification/topic as defined in the standard.

Not stated

This category is only used where a respondent has not given any response to the question asked, ie it is solely for non–response.


International Labour Organisation (1998). Current International Recommendations on Labour Statistics (1998 Edition), Geneva.

Statistics New Zealand (1993). 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings: Preliminary Views on Content, Wellington.

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