47. In your main job, how many hours a week do you usually work?

Why we ask this question

Your answer helps your community by identifying how long people in your local area spend working each week. Your local authority will also use this information to target resources and identify potential labour supply.

This information helps your local community by giving an understanding, at a local level, of likely travel patterns and times. These patterns and times can help identify the need for public transport.

Your answer shows whether people in your area are employed full-time or part-time. It will help measure how effective projects and policies are in improving the economy.

This information can be used to analyse the workforce by occupation and hours worked. It can show whether lower-skilled people are more likely to work longer hours, for lower wages, than higher-skilled people. This helps to indicate the quality of life across local workforces.

The census first asked this question in 1961.

Only answer about your main job.

Select one option that best matches your usual working hours in one week. Remember to include all paid and unpaid overtime during that time.

Don't include unpaid breaks you've taken.

Important information:

How to answer if the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected your working hours

If you're currently employed or self-employed and the coronavirus pandemic has changed the hours that you work, select the answer that best describes your current circumstances.

If you're away from work on furlough, in quarantine or self-isolating, answer about the hours you were working before being away from work.

Working different hours each week

Give the average weekly hours you've worked over the four weeks from Monday 22 February to Census Day, Sunday 21 March 2021.

How to work out average weekly hours

Add together the hours you're paid to work and any unpaid overtime, from Monday 22 February to Sunday 21 March 2021.

Divide that total by four. For minutes between 0 and 29, round down to the nearest hour. For minutes between 30 and 59, round up to the nearest hour.

For example, Carlos worked:

  • 32 hours in week one
  • 0 hours in week two
  • 19 hours in week three
  • 8 hours in week four

Carlos worked a total of 59 hours in those four weeks.

He divides 59 by four, which is 14.75. This means his average weekly hours will be 14 hours and 45 minutes.

He rounds this total up to the nearest hour, giving a final total of 15 hours per week, and selects the "0 to 15" category.

Temporarily away from work

If you are temporarily away from work, such as on maternity or paternity leave, answer about the hours you were working prior to being away from work.

On call and sleep shifts

If your work includes being on call or sleeping overnight at your place of work, you only need to include the hours you were awake and working.

For example, if you were on call and called out to a job that took two hours, only include those two hours.

Or if you were on a sleep shift and were required to be awake to work for four hours, you would only include that time.

If your job requires you to be awake and working for a specified time, for example, as a security guard or nurse, you would include all the hours you worked that week.

What we mean by main job

Your circumstances may have changed during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Answer about your current main job if you have one.

If you don't have a job at the moment, answer about the most recent job you had.

If you're away from work on furlough, in quarantine or self-isolating, consider the hours you were working before being away from work.

More than one job

If you have more than one job at the same time:

  • answer about the job in which you usually work the most hours
  • if your hours are equal, use the job that pays the most
  • if your hours and pay are equal, use the one you did most recently

Changing jobs

If you're in the middle of changing jobs, answer about the main one you were doing on Sunday 21 March 2021. Only answer about your new position if you've already left your previous job.

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.