copy the linklink copied!10. Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance is about being able to combine family commitments, leisure and work – including both paid and unpaid work. Across OECD countries, the average time spent on leisure and personal care by full-time employed people ranges from around 14 to 16.5 hours per day. Full-time employed men enjoy 30 minutes more leisure and personal care time relative to women, while the young and old spend 50 and 25 minutes more than the middle-aged, respectively. In the 13 OECD countries with available data, the share of the population working long hours in unpaid work ranges from 7% to 17%. When considering both paid and unpaid working time together, women work, on average, 25 minutes longer per day than men do. Average satisfaction with time use, measured on a 0-10 scale, never exceeds 8 and can be as low as 5.6. Middle-aged people are consistently the least satisfied with their time use.

    
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Figure 10.1. Work-Life Balance snapshot: current levels, and direction of change since 2010
Figure 10.1. Work-Life Balance snapshot: current levels, and direction of change since 2010

Note: The snapshot depicts data for 2018, or the latest available year, for each indicator. The colour of the circle indicates the direction of change, relative to 2010, or the closest available year: improvement is shown in blue, deterioration in orange, and no clear or consistent change in grey, and insufficient time series to determine trends in white. For each indicator, the OECD country with the lowest (on the left) and highest (on the right) well-being level are labelled, along with the OECD average. For full details of the methodology, see the Reader’s Guide.

Source: OECD calculations based on public-use time use survey microdata when available, Eurostat’s Harmonised European Time Use Surveys (database), https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/time-use-surveys and tabulations from National Statistical Offices; European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) (database), https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/income-and-living-conditions; Eurostat database (ilc_pw01) for Turkey; Statistics Canada, General Social Survey 2016, https://doi.org/10.25318/1310010601-eng and INEGI, Subjective well-being in Mexico, https://sinegi.page.link/p1SS.

copy the linklink copied!Time off

Professional obligations and unpaid work can leave individuals with little time for themselves, their family and their friends. While time crunches can affect a wide range of people, this indicator focuses on full-time employed people to enable a consistent comparison across countries (see Box 10.1). The average time off (i.e. time spent on leisure and personal care, which includes sleeping) is around 15 hours per day for full-time employed people in OECD countries, ranging from just over 14 hours in Japan to 16.5 hours in Italy (Figure 10.2). In European countries, the full-time employed generally have more time off than elsewhere. Changes in time use over the past decade or so can be assessed for just six OECD countries: Belgium, Canada, Italy, Korea, Japan and the United States. Time off in these countries has changed relatively little since the mid-2000s.

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Figure 10.2. In OECD countries, full-time employed people devote 15 hours per day, on average, to leisure and personal care
Time off for full-time employed people, hours per day
Figure 10.2. In OECD countries, full-time employed people devote 15 hours per day, on average, to leisure and personal care

Note: The data refer to full-time employed people. For surveys where the full-time/part-time status was not directly asked, the full-time employed were identified as those working 30 hours or more per week. The OECD average is provided only for the latest available year, and excludes Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland due to a lack of recent data (2005 or later), methodological differences in data collection, or because tabulations from National Statistical Offices are not detailed enough to allow focusing on the full-time employed only. The latest available year refers to 2018 for the United States; 2016 for Japan and the Netherlands; 2015 for Canada; 2014-15 for Turkey and the United Kingdom; 2014 for Korea; 2013-14 for Greece and Italy; 2012-13 for Belgium, Germany and Poland; 2010-11 for Norway; 2009-10 for Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, New Zealand and Spain; 2008-09 for Austria; 2006 for Australia; and 2005 for Ireland. The previous available year refers to 2011 for Japan; 2010 for Canada and the United States; 2009 for Korea; 2008-09 for Italy; and 2005-06 for Belgium. Data have been normalised to 1 440 minutes per day: in other words, for those countries for which daily time use did not sum up to 1 440 minutes, the missing or extra minutes (around 30-40 minutes usually) were equally distributed across all activities.

Source: OECD calculations based on public-use time use survey microdata when available; Eurostat’s Harmonised European Time Use Surveys (database), https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/time-use-surveys and tabulations from National Statistical Offices.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934082005

copy the linklink copied!Long unpaid working hours

Long working hours matter for well-being whether they involve paid work (e.g. in salaried employment) or unpaid work (e.g. caring responsibilities, cooking, and cleaning in the home). While long paid working hours were discussed in the Reference Chapter on Work and Job Quality, long hours of unpaid work are considered in Figure 10.3. This indicator captures long unpaid working hours for both people whose primary activity is domestic production and for those who face a “double day” burden of both paid work and long unpaid working hours (see Box 10.1 for more details). Long unpaid hours affect less than 10% of the working-age population in France, the Netherlands and Turkey but more than 15% in Ireland and Austria.

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Figure 10.3. Between 7% and 17% of people work long unpaid hours in OECD countries
Proportion of the population aged 15-64 who work more than 60 hours per week, of which at least 30 hours is unpaid work, percentage, latest available year
Figure 10.3. Between 7% and 17% of people work long unpaid hours in OECD countries

Note: Country coverage is limited to those countries in which time use microdata files were available (2005 or after) and comparable data collection methodologies were used. The latest available year refers to 2018 for the United States; 2016 for the Netherlands; 2015 for Canada; 2014-15 for Turkey and the United Kingdom; 2013-14 for Italy; 2012-13 for Germany; 2010-11 for Norway; 2009-10 for Finland, France and Spain; 2008-09 for Austria; and 2005 for Ireland. Data have been normalised to 1 440 minutes per day: in other words, for those countries for which daily time use did not sum up to 1 440 minutes, the missing or extra minutes (around 30-40 minutes usually) were equally distributed across all activities.

Source: OECD calculations based on public-use time use survey microdata when available; Eurostat’s Harmonised European Time Use Surveys (database), https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/time-use-surveys.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934082024

copy the linklink copied!Gender gap in total hours worked

When both paid and unpaid work are taken into account, women work longer hours than men in almost every OECD country (Figure 10.4, panel A). In the average OECD country, women work 25 minutes per day more than men. Gender gaps are largest in Italy, Spain, Estonia, Greece and Hungary, where women spend over 1 hour per day more than men in total work. By contrast, men in Norway, New Zealand and the Netherlands spend slightly more time in total work than women (between 5 and 24 minutes per day).

Most of the gender differences in total working hours are driven by long hours spent in unpaid work by women (Figure 10.4, panel B), i.e. time spent doing routine housework, care work (for children and adults), shopping for goods and services for the household, and travel related to household activities. Across the OECD, men spend longer hours in paid work than women do (almost 1 hour and 40 minutes more per day, for the OECD on average), while women spend longer hours in unpaid work (around 2 hours more per day, for the OECD on average). Even in countries such as Estonia, where gender differences in time spent on paid work are small, women still do the lion’s share of unpaid work.

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Figure 10.4. On average, women work 25 minutes a day more than men
Figure 10.4. On average, women work 25 minutes a day more than men

Note: In both Panels, countries are ranked in descending order of the gender gaps in time spent in paid and unpaid work combined. The latest available year refers to 2018 for the United States; 2016 for Japan and the Netherlands; 2015 for Canada; 2014-15 for Luxembourg, Turkey and the United Kingdom; 2014 for Korea; 2013-14 for Greece and Italy; 2012-13 for Belgium, Germany and Poland; 2010-11 for Norway; 2010 for Sweden; 2009-10 for Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, New Zealand and Spain; 2008-09 for Austria; 2006 for Australia; and 2005 for Ireland. Data have been normalised to 1 440 minutes per day: in other words, for those countries for which daily time use did not sum up to 1 440 minutes, the missing or extra minutes (around 30-40 minutes usually) were proportionally distributed across all activities. Data refer to the population aged 15-64, except for Australia (aged 15 and more) and New Zealand (12 and more). Data for the OECD average exclude Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Switzerland due to the lack of recent data (2005 or after), or methodological differences in data collection.

Source: OECD Time Use (database), https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TIME_USE.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934082043

copy the linklink copied!Satisfaction with time use

Satisfaction with time use can offer some insight into whether people are achieving the balance of activities that they themselves consider desirable. In the 29 OECD countries with available data, average satisfaction with time use is 6.9 on a 0-10 scale, with the highest ratings found in Denmark (7.8), Finland and Mexico (7.7 each) and the Netherlands (7.5), and the lowest in Hungary (6.3), Greece (6.1) and Turkey (5.6) (Figure 10.5).

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Figure 10.5. Average satisfaction with time use is below 8 out of 10 in all OECD countries with data
Mean values for satisfaction with time use on a 0-10 scale, 2013 or latest available year
Figure 10.5. Average satisfaction with time use is below 8 out of 10 in all OECD countries with data

Note: The data refer to 2013 for all the countries except Canada and Mexico, where data were collected in 2016 and 2014, respectively. The OECD average excludes Australia, Chile, Colombia, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the United States due to a lack of available data. The data refer to people aged 16 or more except for Canada (15 or more) and Mexico (18 or more).

Source: OECD calculations based on European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) (database), https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/income-and-living-conditions; Eurostat database (ilc_pw01) for Turkey; Statistics Canada, General Social Survey 2016, https://doi.org/10.25318/1310010601-eng and INEGI, Subjective well-being in Mexico 2014, https://sinegi.page.link/p1SS.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934082062

copy the linklink copied!Work-Life Balance inequalities: gaps between population groups

Men have more time off than women and work fewer long hours in unpaid work

Among the full-time employed, men generally spend more time on leisure and personal care than women do (Figure 10.6). Across OECD countries, the average gender gap in time off is around 45 minutes, but goes up to almost 1 hour 30 minutes in Italy. The Netherlands and Norway are the only countries where full-time employed women spend longer time on leisure and personal care than their male counterparts. Moreover, working-age women are systematically more likely to spend long hours in unpaid work, relative to their male counterparts (Figure 10.7). Women are 1.7 times more likely than men to work long unpaid hours in Norway, but almost 17 times more likely in Turkey. On the other hand, population-wide measures of satisfaction with time use (ages 16 or over) show few clear gender differences, and their direction is not consistent among OECD countries.

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Figure 10.6. Among the full-time employed, men have more time off than women
Gender ratios, latest available year
Figure 10.6. Among the full-time employed, men have more time off than women

Note: The gender ratio is calculated by dividing average values for women by average values for men. Thus, values above 1.0 always indicate better outcomes for women, and values below 1.0 always indicate better outcomes for men. For surveys where the full-time/part-time status was not directly asked, the full-time employed were identified as those working 30 hours or more per week. Latest available year refers to 2018 for the United States; 2016 for Japan and the Netherlands; 2015 for Canada; 2014-15 for Turkey and the United Kingdom; 2014 for Korea; 2013-14 for Greece and Italy; 2012-13 for Belgium, Germany and Poland; 2010-11 for Norway; 2009-10 Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, New Zealand and Spain; 2008-09 for Austria; 2006 for Australia; and 2005 for Ireland. The OECD average excludes Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland, due to a lack of recent data (2005 or later), methodological differences in data collection, or because tabulations from National Statistical Offices are not detailed enough to allow focusing on full-time employed only. Data on time use have been normalised to 1 440 minutes per day: in other words, for those countries for which daily time use did not sum up to 1 440 minutes, the missing or extra minutes (around 30-40 minutes usually) were equally distributed across all activities.

Source: OECD calculations based on public-use time use survey microdata when available; Eurostat’s Harmonised European Time Use Surveys (database), https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/time-use-surveys and tabulations from National Statistical Offices.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934082081

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Figure 10.7. Women consistently work longer hours in unpaid work than men
Gender ratios, latest available year
Figure 10.7. Women consistently work longer hours in unpaid work than men

Note: The gender ratio (ratio of the percentage share of men to women who work more than 60 hours per week, of which at least 30 hours is unpaid work) is calculated by dividing average values for men by average values for women. Thus, values above 1.0 always indicate better outcomes for women, and values below 1.0 always indicate better outcomes for men. Country coverage is limited to those countries where time use microdata files were available (2005 or after) and comparable data collection methodologies were used. Data are restricted to individuals aged 15-64. Latest available year refers to 2018 for the United States; 2016 for the Netherlands; 2015 for Canada; 2014-15 for Turkey and the United Kingdom; 2013-14 for Italy; 2012-13 for Germany; 2010-11 for Norway; 2009-10 for Finland, France and Spain; 2008-09 for Austria; and 2005 for Ireland. Data have been normalised to 1 440 minutes per day: in other words, for those countries for which daily time use did not sum up to 1 440 minutes, the missing or extra minutes (around 30-40 minutes usually) were equally distributed across all activities.

Source: OECD calculations based on public-use time use survey microdata, Eurostat’s Harmonised European Time Use Surveys (database), https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/time-use-surveys.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934082100

The middle-aged have the least leisure time, and are least satisfied with their time use

Time off is lowest during middle-age (Figure 10.8). For the 13 OECD countries with available and harmonised data, younger and older full-time employed people enjoy, on average, around 50 and 25 additional minutes of time off per day, respectively, compared to those aged 30-49. Across age groups, those aged 30-49 are also the least satisfied with their time use (Figure 10.9). The OECD average satisfaction with time use is 7 for people aged 16-29 and 7.4 for people aged 50 and plus, compared to 6.4 for people aged 30-49.

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Figure 10.8. Middle-aged full-time employed people have the least time off
Time off for full-time employed people, by age, hours per day, latest available year
Figure 10.8. Middle-aged full-time employed people have the least time off

Note: Countries are ranked in ascending order of time spent on leisure and personal care by middle-aged full-time employed persons. For surveys where the full-time/part-time status was not directly asked, the full-time employed were identified as those working 30 hours or more per week. Country coverage is limited to those countries in which time use microdata files were available (2005 or after) and comparable data collection methodologies were used. Latest available year refers to 2018 for the United States; 2016 for the Netherlands; 2015 for Canada; 2014-15 for Turkey and the United Kingdom; 2013-14 for Italy; 2012-13 for Germany; 2010-11 for Norway; 2009-10 for Finland, France and Spain; 2008-09 for Austria; and 2005 for Ireland. Data have been normalised to 1 440 minutes per day: in other words, for those countries for which daily time use did not sum up to 1 440 minutes, the missing or extra minutes (around 30-40 minutes usually) were equally distributed across all activities.

Source: OECD calculations based on public-use time use survey microdata.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934082119

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Figure 10.9. Middle-aged people are the least satisfied with their time use
Satisfaction with time use on a 0-10 scale, by age, 2013 or latest available year
Figure 10.9. Middle-aged people are the least satisfied with their time use

Note: Countries are ranked in ascending order of average satisfaction with time use among middle-aged people. Data refer to 2013 for all the countries except Canada and Mexico, where data have been collected in 2016 and 2014, respectively. The OECD average excludes Australia, Chile, Colombia, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Turkey and the United States due to a lack of available data. The data refer to people aged 16 or more except for Canada (15 or more) and Mexico (18 or more).

Source: OECD calculations based on European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) (database), https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/income-and-living-conditions; Statistics Canada, General Social Survey 2016, https://doi.org/10.25318/1310010601-eng and INEGI, Subjective well-being in Mexico 2014, https://sinegi.page.link/p1SS.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934082138

People with higher education are less satisfied with their time use

In the average OECD country, satisfaction with time use falls slightly as educational attainment increases: satisfaction with time use is on average 7.1 out of 10 for people with primary education, 6.9 for individuals with secondary education and 6.8 for people with tertiary education (Figure 10.10). The education gradient in the average satisfaction with time use is steeper in France, Sweden and Canada, while it is almost flat in in Italy and Mexico.

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Figure 10.10. Satisfaction with time use decreases with educational attainment
Mean values for satisfaction with time use on a 0-10 scale, by education level, 2013 or latest available year
Figure 10.10. Satisfaction with time use decreases with educational attainment

Note: Countries are ranked in ascending order of average satisfaction with time use among those with a secondary degree. The data refer to 2013 for all the countries except Canada and Mexico, where data have been collected in 2016 and 2014, respectively. The OECD average excludes Australia, Chile, Colombia, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the United States due to a lack of available data. The data refer to people aged 16 or more except in Canada (15 or more) and Mexico (18 or more).

Source: OECD calculations based on European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) (database), https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/income-and-living-conditions; Eurostat database (ilc_pw01) for Turkey; Statistics Canada, General Social Survey 2016, https://doi.org/10.25318/1310010601-eng and INEGI, Subjective well-being in Mexico 2014, https://sinegi.page.link/p1SS.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934082157

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Box 10.1. Measurement and the statistical agenda ahead

Work-Life Balance is about being able to combine family commitments, leisure, and work. Ideally, the scope of this dimension would include aspects such as the quantity of time devoted to leisure and personal care as well as people’s satisfaction with their time use, and some sense of the balance between both paid and unpaid work (Table 10.1). Time use that is negatively associated with well-being, such as time spent commuting, also belongs in the scope, as this constrains time available for other activities. This dimension overlaps with aspects of Job Quality currently included in the Reference Chapter on Work and Job Quality – for example, the share of people routinely working long hours (50+ per week) in paid work. The Reference Chapter on Social Connections also considers one specific aspect of leisure time: time spent on social interactions.

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Table 10.1. Leisure and culture indicators considered in this chapter

Average

Vertical inequality (gap between top and bottom of the distribution)

Horizontal inequality (difference between groups, by gender, age, education)

Deprivation

Time off

Daily time allocated to leisure and personal care by full-time employed people

n/a

Gaps in the average amount of time off

n/a

Gender gap in hours worked

Gender gap in total hours worked per week for both paid and unpaid work

n/a

n/a

n/a

Satisfaction with time use

Mean average satisfaction with time use, 0-10 scale

n/a

Gaps in average satisfaction with time use

Share of people reporting a score equal to or below 5 on a 0-10 scale (defined by Eurostat as those with “low” satisfaction levels with time use).

Long unpaid working hours

Share of the total working-age population who usually work more than 60 hours per week, of which at least 30 hours involve unpaid work

n/a

Gender differences in long unpaid working hours

n/a

Time off is the sum of personal care time (i.e. the amount of time spent sleeping, eating and drinking, on other personal care activities and on travel time associated with personal care) and leisure time (i.e. the amount of time spent practicing sports, interacting with friends and relatives, attending or participating in events, watching TV or listening to music, on other leisure activities, and on travel time associated with leisure). Only time spent on main or primary activities is included and as such, it is likely to underestimate especially the time spent on leisure activities, which are often performed in combination with other tasks (e.g. chatting on the phone with a friend while cooking). Time off is measured through Time Use Surveys (TUS), in which participants record, in a diary, the nature and the duration of the activities they have performed over 24 hours.

Some countries (e.g. Colombia, Mexico) use a simplified variant of a time-use diary, which results in estimates that are less precise than for other countries. In addition, in the Mexican time-use survey, respondents are asked about their time use during the seven days prior to the interview. Given the large time lapse between the activity and the interview, responses are likely to be rougher estimates of the true time use. For this reason, time-use estimates for Colombia and Mexico are not shown in this chapter.

Ideally, data collection for time-use surveys would be spread over the whole year, and thus contain a representative proportion of weekdays and weekend days, as well as public and school holidays. Some countries, however, only cover particular periods in the week or year: this is the case, to varying degrees, for Australia, Ireland, Japan, and Korea. Differences in activity coding is an additional issue that may limit comparability. The indicator is restricted to full-time employed people only, as they have fewer margins to change how they allocate their time, and comparing a well-defined population group also facilitates cross-country comparability. For surveys where full-time/part-time work status was not directly asked, full-time employed people were identified as those working 30 or more hours per week. The data shown here have been harmonised ex post by the OECD, drawing on the Harmonised European Time Use Surveys, the Eurostat time use database, public-use time use survey micro-data, and tabulations from National Statistical Offices. These sources are available in the OECD Gender Database. In those countries for which daily time use did not sum up to 1 440 minutes, the missing or extra minutes (around 30-40 minutes usually) were equally distributed across all activities.

Long unpaid working hours corresponds to the share of the working-age (15-64) population who work more than 60 hours in total (paid and unpaid work) per week, of which at least 30 hours is unpaid work. 60 hours per week is the equivalent of two full-time jobs when the lower bound definition of full-time employment is considered (30 hours per week). This indicator captures long unpaid working hours both for people whose primary activity is domestic production and for those who face a “double day” burden of both paid work and long unpaid working hours. Unpaid work includes routine housework, shopping for goods and services (mainly food, clothing and items related to accommodation), caring for household members (children and adults) and non-household members, volunteering, travel related to household activities and other unpaid work. Paid work, on the other hand, includes time spent in all jobs and all commuting time. Time spent commuting to and from the workplace and to and from school could not be separated out in a number of countries, and thus time spent commuting includes both work- and school-related commuting. The information is collected through national Time Use Surveys (see above).

Gender gap in total hours worked refers to the difference (in minutes) between men and women in the total time worked per day, including both paid and unpaid work (as defined above). The information is collected through national Time Use Surveys (see above). The data for this indicator have been restricted to the working-age population (15-64).

Satisfaction with time use is a measure of how individuals rate their satisfaction with time use on an 11-point scale, from 0 (not at all satisfied) to 10 (completely satisfied). Respondents are asked to provide a broad, reflective appraisal of all areas of their time use. This question was asked to people aged 16 and over in 27 European OECD countries (including Iceland and Turkey) in the 2013 EU-SILC survey, and to people aged 18 and over in Mexico (INEGI, Subjective well-being in Mexico). A similar question has been asked to people aged 15 and over in Canada (2016 General Social Survey). The Canadian question, however, is about satisfaction with the amount of time available to do the things one like doing.

Correlations among Work-Life Balance indicators

The gender gap in total hours worked has a reasonably strong negative correlation (-0.6) with satisfaction with time use: in countries where women work much longer hours than men in total (considering both paid and unpaid work), satisfaction with time use among the total population is lower (Table 10.2). Disaggregated data suggest that this is as true for men as it is for women – i.e. both genders are less satisfied in countries where the gap between them is larger. By contrast, among the 15 OECD countries with available data for both, time spent on leisure and personal care (for full-time employees) is not related to satisfaction with time use (for the total population aged 16 and older).

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Table 10.2. Where women work much longer hours than men, satisfaction with time use is lower
Bivariate correlation coefficients among Work Life Balance indicators

Leisure time

Satisfaction with time use

Gender gap in total hours worked

Long unpaid working hours

Leisure time

Satisfaction with time use

0.11

(15)

Gender gap in total hours worked

0.31

(21)

-0.59***

(23)

Long unpaid working hours

-0.21

(11)

-0.09

(10)

0.31

(11)

Note: Table shows the bivariate Pearson’s correlation coefficient; values in parentheses refer to the number of observations (countries). * Indicates that correlations are significant at the p<0.10 level; ** that they are significant at the p<0.05 level, and *** at the p<0.01 level.

Statistical agenda ahead

Recent years have witnessed a growing number cross-country initiatives on Time Use data (e.g. the Multinational Time Use Study (MTUS) and the Harmonised European Time Use Surveys (HETUS)), guidelines (e.g. UNECE (2013[1]) and UNSD (2005[2])) and international classifications (e.g. the UN International Classification of Activities for Time-Use Statistics (ICATUS)). Nevertheless, greater harmonisation is needed across data collection methods, including the length of diary timeslots, and the number of days on which diaries are completed. A more consistent approach to the treatment of weekdays/ weekends is particularly important for assessing activities such as leisure and personal care, where there may be large average differences between weekdays and weekends. Moreover, due to the relatively resource-intensive nature of TUS, these are generally conducted at about five- or ten-yearly intervals (with the exception of the United States). In interim years or where their implementation is not feasible, data on the use of time could be collected through survey instruments with lower collection and response burden, for example, “light” diaries with pre-coded time use categories (UNECE, 2013[1]).

While TUS are the primary source of information on the quantity of their leisure time, people may also be asked to rate, for instance, the quality of their free time or their work-life balance. However, such questions are not harmonised in TUS (satisfaction with time use, free time and work-life balance are not completely analogous concepts). Questions on satisfaction with time use, limited to European countries, Mexico and Canada, are included in the 2013 ad hoc module of EU-SILC 2013, in the 2014 Survey on Subjective Well-being in Mexico and in the 2016 Canadian General Social Survey, but no comparable data are available for other OECD countries.

References

[1] UNECE (2013), Guidelines for Harmonizing Time-Use Surveys, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Geneva, http://unece.org/index.php?id=34496.

[2] UNSD (2005), Guide to Producing Statistics on Time Use: Measuring Paid and Unpaid Work, United Nations Statistics Division, New York, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/pubs/gesgrid.asp?id=347 (accessed on 12 December 2019).

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