The BELSPO-project LFS & TIME was presented at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) last Thursday, 3 March. For this project, about the working population of Belgium, researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Université Catholique de Louvain combined, analyzed and valorized the data on the LFS, a weekly Work Grid (WG) and a Time Use Survey (TUS) collected from the same participants by the DG Statistics of the FPS Economy.
Even a very simple methodology improves the understanding of working times
The researchers demonstrate that even a very simple methodology as the WG already improves the understanding of working times in terms of estimating working hours, estimating non-standard working times, and understanding the scheduling or work in a great deal. Moreover, the more advanced methodology of the TUS allows for a thorough investigating of the interference of work in family life.
The Labor Force Survey is the European standard for inquiring work in all its facets of which (the scheduling of) working hours is just one. However, estimating working hours using simple questions becomes more and more difficult given the (presumed) continuing flexibility of work and the interference of work into domains that were previously strictly reserved for family or leisure. In line with the aims of the ‘Data Management and Data Collection’ area of the Belgian Research Action through Interdisciplinary Networks (BRAIN) of BELSPO this project evaluated best practices to overcome these challenges.
In 2013 the DG Statistics of the FPS Economy conducted a Time-Use Survey (TUS) and weekly Work Grid (WG) among a subsample of the Labor Force Survey (LFS). In a WG participants keep track of their working times in 15- minute timeslots for 7 consecutive days. In a TUS participants register their daily activities in 10-minute timeslots for one weekday and one weekend day. All data cover the same reference week.
This project served three goals: 1) the construction of the merged database LFS&TIME, 2) the comparison of estimated working hours and scheduling of work in the LFS and the WG, and 3) the valorization of the newly create database.