Aspects of working time and workplace regulation


Source

Source: Labour Force Survey (EAK), Statbel (Directorate-general Statistics - Statistics Belgium) and (LFS) Eurostat, processed by Centre of Expertise for Labour Market Monitoring (CELM) and Statistics Flanders.


Definitions

Aspects of working time and workplace regulation indicate the extent to which employees aged 20 to 64 year make use of atypical working time and/or workplace arrangements. The presence of these is represented by means of 6 aspects: evening and night work, Saturday and Sunday work, working from home and shift work.

Evening work: work during the normal evening hours, for at least 50% of the working days of employees, during a reference period of 4 weeks prior to the survey.

Night work: work during the normal night hours, for at least 50% of the working days of employees , during a reference period of 4 weeks prior to the survey.

Saturday work: work on Saturdays, for at least 2 Saturdays during a reference period of 4 weeks prior to the survey.

Sunday work: work on Sundays, for at least 2 Sundays during a reference period of 4 weeks prior to the survey.

Shift work: when a company provides services outside the normal working days and working hours (Monday-Friday, from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm) and when consecutive shifts of employees succeed each other at the same work location in order to perform the same operations. Shift work includes combinations of work outside the normal working days (weekend) and working hours (early morning, late evening, night).

Working from home: based on formal agreements with the employer, the employee works from home between 1% and 100% of the working time, during a reference period of 4 weeks prior to the survey.
 

Educational level:

  • Low educated: persons without any educational qualification or having a lower-secondary education at the maximum;
  • medium-educated: persons with an upper-secondary educational level or a post-secondary non-higher education at the maximum;
  • high educated: persons with a higher education or university degree.


Remarks on quality

The data on the aspects of working hours and workplace arrangements for the employed are estimates based on a survey. The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is the official survey that is taken in all EU28 countries. The survey is used to construct European, national and regional statistics on the labour market. The LFS is coordinated by the European Statistical Office, Eurostat. For Belgium, the survey is carried out by Statbel, the Belgian office of statistics, under the name Labour Force Survey (EAK). The EAK has been carried out in Belgium since 1983. Participation in the EAK survey is mandatory for the selected households.

From 1983 to 1998, the households were surveyed once a year during a limited period. From 1998, the survey was carried out all through the year, with the sample being equally spread over all the weeks of the year. 

From 2001 onwards, persons who have had a career break of more than three months are no longer counted as working. This break was corrected by the Centre of Expertise for Labour market Monitoring by calculating afresh the figures of 2000 and 1999.

From 2017, a new method of surveying has been used. The selected household and persons are asked to answer questions in a first questionnaire. They are next invited to answer a questionnaire another 3 times in the following 15 months. The households are surveyed in 2 consecutive quarters, followed by a pause of 2 quarters, and are finally surveyed again during 2 quarters.
The initial survey took place in the same way as in previous years: the respondent is invited by a pollster for a personal interview in which the questionnaire is worked through together and the answers are registered on a tablet. This questionnaire is the most detailed and is supervised by a pollster.
The follow-up questionnaires are shorter and are largely limited to the aspects of the labour market that have changed in comparison with the previous questionnaire. 

In the Flemish Region, data were collected from around 20,000 households and 50,000 persons (household members) in the 1999-2016 period. In that period, the response rate for the Labour Force Survey in Belgium was between 75% and 80%. 

Since 2017, approximately 18,000 Flemish households and 44,000 people took part in the survey with the new method. In 2019, this involved 17,967 households and 43,497 persons.
In the period 2017-2019, the average response rate in the Flemish Region for the first phase of the survey was 73%, for the second phase 88%, for the third phase 91% and for the fourth phase 94%.

Since the data are collected on a sample basis, a certain margin of uncertainty must be taken into account when interpreting the results of the LFS and EAK.  

For the 1999-2018 period, allowance must be made for a break in the time series between 2016 and 2017 due to the new method.


References
Centre of Expertise for Labour market Monitoring (CELM): Data  and  Flanders in Europe
Statbel: Employment and unemployment
Eurostat: Database


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