Usual work hours of employed person

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on June 21, 2010.


Usual work hours refers to the employed person's normal paid or contract hours, not counting any overtime. For the self-employed, including unpaid family workers, usual work hours refers to the number of hours usually worked by the person in a typical week, regardless of whether he or she was paid.

Employed person refers to those who, during the reference period, had a labour force status of 'employed'. That is, those who, during the reference period:

(a) Did any work at all at a job or business, that is, paid work in the context of an employer-employee relationship, or self-employment. This also includes persons who did unpaid family work, which is defined as unpaid work contributing directly to the operation of a farm, business or professional practice owned and operated by a related member of the same household; or

(b) Had a job but were not at work due to factors such as their own illness or disability, personal or family responsibilities, vacation or a labour dispute. This category excludes persons not at work because they were on layoff or between casual jobs, and those who did not then have a job (even if they had a job to start at a future date).

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

The notion of "usual hours of work" appears in the Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses; however, the classification for "usual hours of work" appears only as a "suggested additional tabulation". That classification differs from the classification included in this standard which is designed to be more useful in the Canadian context. This standard's classification includes, for example, the break point of 30 hours which usually distinguishes between part time and full time status and a class of "40 hours" as this is the typical response in the Canadian context.


Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistical Division, United Nations, Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2 (New York, 2008).


  • 'Number of hours of activity' is expressed in hours ranging from 0 to the maximum number on the data file. Hours may be expressed to 2 significant digits after the decimal. October 23, 2009 to current


Relation to previous version

  • Usual work hours of employed person June 21, 2010 to current

    This is the current standard.

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