38. Have you ever done any paid work?

Why we ask this question

Your answers help your local community by allowing charities, organisations and local authorities to identify where action is needed to help tackle low employment rates in your area.

Your answer also helps local authorities to make plans that support large amounts of public spending, for example, job creation, educational opportunities and health services.

The census first asked questions on employment in 1851.

During your lifetime, have you ever been paid to work? Include any paid work that you've ever done, even if it was a long time ago.

Remember to include temporary or casual work, such as paper-rounds or babysitting, even if you only worked for one hour.

You should also include furlough because this counts as paid work.

Think about work you've been paid to do, for:

  • an employer
  • your own business
  • a family business
  • a private individual

Also include jobs that pay a living allowance rather than a salary, such as clergy or elected officials, and any work you may have been paid to do outside of the UK.

Only include unpaid work if it's been for your own, or a family business.

Please answer this question, even if you're now retired.

Important information:

Do not include any voluntary work

We recognise that people doing voluntary and unpaid work are a valuable resource. This information is collected in our other household surveys, which help give a better understanding of the effect voluntary work has on the whole economy.

If you've done any paid work

If you've done any paid work between Sunday 22 March 2020 and Sunday 21 March 2021, select "Yes, in the last 12 months". Furlough counts as paid work.

If you've done any paid work before Sunday 22 March 2020, and not since, select "Yes, but not in the last 12 months".

Important information:

Answering for someone else

If you're answering on behalf of someone else, where possible you should ask them how they would answer. If they're away, answer as best you can.