ICSE-18 e-manual

Table of contents

What's new?

Background

In October 2018, the 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) adopted the Resolution concerning statistics on work relationships to replace the ICSE-93 that had been adopted by the 15th ICLS in January 1993. The resolution includes a new international classification of status in employment (ICSE-18) as well as the broader international classification of status at work (ICSaW-18).

The 19th ICLS had mandated the ILO to work on a review of ICSE-93 to align to the different forms of work as defined by the 19th ICLS Resolution I concerning statistics of work, employment and labour underutilization. The focus of the revision has been particularly on the increasing uncertainty about the boundary between self-employment and paid employment and non-standard forms of employment, such as ‘dependent’ contractors, short-term and zero hours contracts etc.

Main changes compared to ICSE-93

(1) ICSE-18 comprises 10 categories of Status of Employment compared to 5 in ICSE-93, in order  to provide a more detailed and meaningful classification reflecting working relationships in the labour market. These 10 categories can be organized by the type of authority the worker is able to exercise or by the type of economic risk the worker is exposed to, as illustrated in the table below.

Apart from providing more detail on the existing ICSE-93 categories, ICSE-18 also includes a new category ‘Dependent Contractors’, while the former category  ‘Members of Producer Cooperatives’ is not identified in ICSE-18.

Table 1. ICSE-18 versus ICSE-93

(2) The 20th ICLS resolution adopting ICSE-18 additionally provides an extension of the classification of  Status of Employment to cover all forms of work, paid and unpaid, the International Classification of Status of Work (ICSaW-18).

(3) This resolution also defines a set of cross-cutting variables that support the derivation and analysis of the Status of Work categories, including, job-dependent social insurance, access to paid annual leave and access to paid sick leave.

(4) The classifications and variables defined follow the definitions of employment, own-use production work, unpaid trainee work, volunteer work and other work activities as defined by the 19th ICLS resolution I.

Overview of the resolution

Definition of a job

The statistical units relevant for statistics on work relationships are persons, jobs and work activities, and economic units.

The term job is used in reference to employment as defined by the 19th ICLS Resolution 1. Any activity that fulfils the criteria for being classified as employment by the 19th ICLS Resolution 1 would be linked to a job. All those persons working with the intention to generate income, whether this is large or small, have a job. Thus, any type of paid job or mainly market-oriented business activity counts, whether making a profit or loss. Employment also includes all contributing family workers in family businesses, even though they do  not receive a regular wage or salary.

A person can have multiple jobs during a given reference period. Independent workers have as many jobs as economic units they own and operate. An independent worker who owns and operates two different enterprises would therefore be considered to have two different jobs. Dependent workers have as many jobs as economic units the worker is dependent on. An employee who works for two different employers would therefore be considered to have two different jobs, one for each employer.  Finally, a person can work as an independent worker and as a dependent worker in different combinations. This would, for example, be the situation of a person who carries out work for his/her own enterprise but also works as an employee for another employer. This person would have two different jobs, one in relation to the work carried out for the worker’s own enterprise and one for the work carried out for the employer (i.e., the economic unit on which the worker depends).

The main job would be the job for which the worker usually works most hours, or if this information is not available, the job from which the worker receives the highest income.

The term work activity refers to the same concept as job except that it is used for activities in  forms of work other than employment such as own-use production work, unpaid trainee work, volunteer work and other work activities. This would include for example fetching water or collecting firewood for final use by the household, doing construction or renovation work on the household’s own dwelling, unpaid work by trainees, interns, and apprentices, organization-based volunteer work, direct volunteering, producing goods for other households and other production of goods and services mainly for own final use by the household. Importantly it includes subsistence foodstuff production, if the main aim of the activity is to produce food for the consumption of the worker’s own household, even if a surplus is eventually sold on the market.

A work relationship, consisting of a job or work activity, is defined as a set of tasks or duties performed, or meant to be performed by one person for a single economic unit.

Any person can have more than one work relationship. This could be one or more jobs and or one or more work activities.

Number of work relationships

=

Number of jobs

+

Number of work activities

The term job is used in reference to employment, but being in employment does not necessarily mean being an employee. Anyone in employment, can according to specified characteristics of the job be classified into a particular ICSE-18 status in employment category.

Note: The ICSE-18 status in employment category is defined irrespective of formalit,y status and quality of employment, such as whether the employment is informal or formal, pay level, hours worked, duration of engagement and decency of working conditions.

A person may have several jobs during a given reference period: main job + additional jobs

Main Job = job with longest hours usually worked (or if not available other information,   such as highest income could be used as a proxy)

Employers and independent workers without employees have as many jobs as economic units they own/co-own, irrespective of the number of clients served.

Employees, contributing family workers, dependent contractors should consider the set of tasks performed for one economic unit on which the worker is dependent as one job. If the worker is dependent on more than one economic unit, then a separate job is defined for each economic unit on which the worker is dependent.

Own-use production of goods and own-use provision of services for the same household are defined as separate work activities. This allows the identification of work activities within and beyond the production boundary in the System of National Accounts (SNA).

Two dimensions: economic risk and authority

ICSE-18 comprises ten categories of Status of Employment. These categories can be organized according to the:

  • type of authority that the worker is able to exercise in relation to the work performed; or
  • type of economic risk the worker is exposed to.

The former is referred to as ICSE-18-A and the latter as ICSE-18-R.

The differentiation of categories of Status in Employment by type of authority and type of economic risk is nothing new. This differentiation was also present in ICSE-93, but in form of the dichotomy between paid employment jobs and self-employment jobs, overlapping with the type of authority and risk. However, the diagram below illustrates the conflict between authority and risk when used simultaneously as classification criteria for jobs and work activities. Workers in paid employment jobs (i.e., employees) generally have low levels of authority but lower levels of economic risk compared to workers in self-employment jobs. However, contractors and owner-managers of incorporated enterprises were not identified as separate Status in Employment categories in ICSE-93.  Contractors may have a low level of authority over the work performed while being exposed to high levels of economic risk. Owner-managers of incorporated enterprises, on the other hand, have a high degree of authority over the enterprise but are exposed to a lower degree of economic risk than self-employed workers who have not incorporated their business. This created uncertainty about how these groups should be classified and a situation where countries treated these groups differently, thus contributing to a somewhat blurred boundary between paid employment and self-employment.

Table 2. ICSE-93 conflict between authority and risk as classification criteria
ICSE-93 conflict between authority and risk as classification criteria

ICSE-18 and its ten detailed categories can be organized according to the two different dimensions independently, which creates two different hierarchies:

  • the ICSE-18 dichotomy based on type of authority which distinguishes between independent workers and dependent workers; and
  • the ICSE-18 dichotomy based on type of economic risk, more analogous to the ICSE-93 self-employment – paid-employment dichotomy, which distinguishes between work in employment for profit and work in employment for pay.

This important change contributes to clearer boundaries between respectively independent workers/dependent workers and workers in employment for profit/workers in employment for pay. This allows countries to compile the same set of data based on the same definitions in different ways depending on the use of the data. 

Table 3. ICSE-18 dichotomies based on type of authority and type of economic risk

In addition, the two dichotomies based on the type of authority and type of risk can be combined in a dual hierarchy in a matrix perspective that shows the relationship between the two dimensions.

Figure 1. Matrix of the relationship between type of authority and type of risk
Matrix of the relationship between type of authority and type of risk

ICSaW versus ICSE

The International Classification of Status at Work (ICSaW-18) expands on ICSE-18 by including not only jobs, but all work activities not considered to be in employment. It therefore provides:

  • an organizing framework for statistics classified by status at work from various sources; and
  • a coherent and consistent set of 20 mutually exclusive categories and definitions for statistics on workers classified by status, covering all forms of work in a conceptually exhaustive and way.

It is not expected that information on all ICSaW-18 categories should be collected with the same frequency, or even in the same data collection. The purpose of ICSaW-18 is to allow statistical outputs on topics such as employment, volunteer work, child labour and time use to be reported on a conceptually consistent basis, whatever the data source. Like ICSE-18, the categories in ICSaW-18 are defined based on the type of authority that the worker is able to exercise and the type of economic risk that the worker is exposed to in a particular job or work activity. However, the broader categories in ICSaW-18 are grouped together only by type of authority.

The table below lists ICSaW-18 categories grouped according to the type of authority.

Table 4. ICSaW 18 dichotomy between independent and dependent workers based on type of authority
ICSaW 18 dichotomy between independent and dependent workers based on type of authority

Definitions and examples

This section provides a brief definition for each of the ICSE-18 detailed status in employment categories and includes some examples of jobs in each category.

A. Employers

Employers are persons, who operate their own business on their own or in partnership with others and who employ one or more persons as an employee on a regular basis. In case there is a need to test the regularity of the employee, this’ should be understood as having at least one employee during the reference period and at least two of the three weeks immediately preceding the reference period, even if one or more employees were engaged only for a short period.

ICSE-18 distinguishes between two types of employer: employers in corporations and employers in household market enterprises.

11. Employers in corporations

Employers in corporations are owner-operators of corporations in which they employ one or more persons (including temporarily absent employees but excluding themselves, their partners, dependent contractors and family helpers) to work as an employee on a regular basis. As owner-operators, these employers hold a job in an incorporated enterprise (such as a limited liability corporation or limited partnership) in which they:

(a) hold controlling ownership of the enterprise alone, or together with other members of their families and/or one or a few partners; and

(b) have the authority to act on behalf of the enterprise with respect to contracts with other organizations and the hiring and dismissal of employees, subject to national legislation regulating such matters and the rules established by the elected or appointed board of the corporation.

“Controlling ownership” should be interpreted as having a decisive vote or veto on the appointed or elected board of the corporation or in meetings of shareholders, rather than necessarily holding an absolute majority of the shares.

Box 1: Examples of employers in corporations

Two family members jointly own a company with one long-term, salaried employee, and listed their joint family business on the stock exchange, but still keep 80% of the shares. The two family members are considered employers in corporations because:

    • They have a regular employee;
    • The family members still hold controlling ownership, and even majority ownership;
    • Due to the stock listing the family members are not personally liable for all losses incurred by the company.

A carpenter that has one employee and has incorporated her carpentry business is considered an employer in a corporation because:

  • The carpenter have one regular employee;
  • Due to the incorporation the carpenter keeps separate private and business accounts and is, depending on national regulation, not or at least not fully liable with private wealth, for any all losses incurred by the company.

The controlling shareholder of a multinational company is considered an employer in a corporation because:

  • The company employs at least one employee;
  • The controlling shareholder is depending on national regulation not or at least not fully liable with private wealth, for any all losses incurred by the company.

12. Employers in household market enterprises

Employers in household market enterprises are workers who, alone or with one or more partners, operate an unincorporated market enterprise for profit, and who employ one or more persons (including temporarily absent employees but excluding themselves, their partners, dependent contractors and contributing family workers) to work in that enterprise as an employee on a regular basis.

Box 2: Examples of employers in household market enterprises

A Person producing baskets for sale on the market, who employs a neighbour who receives regular payment for the time worked to support the basket production, is an employer in a household market enterprise because:

  • The neighbour is a regular employee who receives a salary or wage;
  • The person is personally liable to cover the expenses from private wealth when, the profit cannot cover the production and salary or wage costs to pay the employed neighbour.

Two medical doctors who operate their own private clinic as a partnership, which is registered but not as a limited liability company , where they employ a receptionist and a medical assistant who are regularly paid a wage, are both considered an employer in a household market enterprise because:

  • The receptionist and assistant can be considered as regular employees who receive pay for time worked;
  • The partners are jointly personally liable to cover the expenses, such as paying the employees from private wealth when, when the profit from treating clients cannot cover the costs.

B. Independent workers without employees

Independent workers without employees operate an economic unit alone or in partnership with others, and do not employ any persons other than themselves, their partners, and contributing family workers to work in the economic unit on a regular basis as an employee. ICSE-18 distinguishes between two types of independent workers without employees according to incorporation status:

21 – Owner-operators of corporations without employees

22 – Own-account workers in household market enterprises without employees

21. Owner-operators of corporations without employees

Owner-operators of corporations without employees are just like Employers in corporations workers who hold a job in an incorporated enterprise, such as a limited liability corporation or limited partnership, in which they:

(a) hold controlling ownership of the enterprise alone, or together with other members of their families and/or one or a few partners; and

(b) have the authority to act on behalf of the enterprise with respect to contracts with other organizations and the hiring and dismissal of employees, subject to national legislation regulating such matters and the rules established by the elected or appointed board of the corporation.

“Controlling ownership” should be interpreted as having a decisive vote or veto on the appointed or elected board of the corporation or in meetings of shareholders, rather than necessarily holding an absolute majority of the shares.

In contrast to Employers in corporations, Owner-operators of corporations without employees however do not employ any persons (other than themselves, their partners and contributing family workers) to work in the enterprise on a regular basis as an employee.

Box 3: Examples of owner-operators of corporations without employees

A car mechanic who works in his own incorporated enterprise, does not have any employees but is from time to time assisted by his son who is not paid a wage or salary,  is  classified among Owner-operators of corporations without employees because:

  • He has no employees, but a contributing family member that assists.
  • Is not fully personally liable, depending on national regulation, to cover the expenses and losses from private wealth when the sales cannot cover the costs.

Two individuals jointly run a private tutoring institute, which they have registered as an incorporated enterprise to reduce their liability, and carry out the work on their own are considered Owner-operators of corporations without employees because:

    • They have no employees;
    • They are not fully personally liable (depending on national legislation, to cover the expenses and losses from private wealth when the sales cannot cover the costs.

22. Own-account workers in household market enterprises without employees

Own-account workers in household market enterprises without employees are workers who operate an unincorporated market enterprise for profit, alone or with one or more partners or contributing family workers, and do not employ any persons to work in the enterprise on a regular basis as an employee.

Box 4: Examples of own-account workers in household market enterprises without employees

A street vendor who sells watermelons. The activity is not registered, and no tax is paid on the income. This worker is classified among Own-account workers in household market enterprises without employees because:

  • There are no regular employees;
  • Are personally liable to cover the expenses and losses from private wealth when the sales cannot cover the production and input costs.

A shop owner that has registered the business as a sole trader but is personally liable for any possible losses. One day a month the shop owner engages a person who is paid by the hour to carry in the deliveries. This shop owner is classified among Own-account workers in household market enterprises without employees because she:

  • Has no regular employees i.e., does not have an employee during the reference period and for at least two of the preceding three weeks or who has been temporarily absent;
  • Is personally liable to cover the expenses and losses from private wealth when the sales cannot cover the costs.

A fisherman who fishes from the shore and sells the fish to an intermediary at prices set according to the market rate, is classified among own-account workers in household market enterprises without employees because he:

  • Has no regular employees
  • Is personally liable to cover the expenses and losses from private wealth when the sales cannot cover the costs
  • Is not dependent on a single other entity that, for example, determines the price of the fish.

An independent Consultant who works for different clients. The expected outputs are defined by commercial agreement and the consultant is typically able to negotiate the price of the services and organizes the work. This consultant is classified among own-account workers in household market enterprises without employees if she or he:

  • Has no regular employees
  • Engages with the clients in commercial relationships.
  • Is personally liable to cover the expenses and losses from private wealth when the sales cannot cover the costs (i.e., has not incorporated the enterprise)
  • Has the authority to organize the work and the power to negotiate the prices of the services carried out.

D. Employees

Employees are workers employed for pay, on a formal or informal basis, who do not hold controlling ownership of the economic unit in which they are employed.

Employees may be further disaggregated, as shown in Table x according to:

  • the nature of the contractual arrangements for employment
  • the degree of permanency of the employment relationship
  • the stability of the working time available to the employee
Table 5. Types of employees
Types of employees

Although Employees do not hold controlling ownership of the economic unit in which they are employed, they may hold shares in that economic unit, or have authority over aspects of its operations as employees with management responsibilities. They are accountable to a third party within the economic unit such as a person or board.

Employees also include the following specific groups among others:

(a) workers who have been engaged on terms corresponding to those of paid employment when the employing organization has entered into a contract only with an intermediary such as a crew leader or organizing agent, and not with the individual worker who is an employee of the intermediary;

(b) worker-members of cooperatives who are paid for time worked or for each task or piece of work done.

41. Permanent employees

Permanent employees are employees who are guaranteed a minimum number of hours of work and

are employed on an ongoing or indefinite basis. They are full-time or part-time workers employed for pay, in formal or informal jobs, who have employment arrangements whereby:

 

  • There is no specified date or event on which employment in a particular economic unit will be terminated other than any age or time for retirement;
  • The employer agrees to provide work and pay for a specified number of hours or to pay for the number of goods or services produced in a set period; and
  • The worker agrees to work for at least the specified number of hours, or for the time required to produce a specified number of goods or services.

 

This group includes recently appointed employees with jobs that are subject to an initial trial period but are expected to continue indefinitely.

Box 5: Examples fixed-term employees

A seasonal worker who is engaged as an employee at a restaurant to work four months during the high peak of the season. The employee works 8 hours per day. The worker is a fixed-term employee because she or he:

  • Has an agreement to work for a fixed period of time (i.e. 4 months) that exceeds 3 months;
  • Is guaranteed work during that period.

A lifeguard who  is engaged to work during 14 weeks in the summer. The lifeguard is called to work when the weather is good and is then paid for 8 hours. In case of bad weather, the lifeguard is paid for one hour that is spent on assisting in administrative tasks. This lifeguard is considered a fixed-term employee because:

  • The contract/agreement/understanding is that that the lifeguard will be working for at least 3 months but not for an indefinite period;
  • The lifeguard is paid for time worked and is guaranteed a minimum amount of hours even if the lifeguard is on-call.

A person is hired to work on building a bridge. The project is expected to be ended within three years at which point the agreement will end.  The worker is engaged to work 9 hours per day for five days a week and is paid for the time worked. This worker is considered a fixed-term employee because of:

  • being hired to complete a specific project task for longer than 3 months with employment terminated upon completion of the project;
  • being regularly paid in cash and/or in kind for time worked for a guaranteed a minimum number of hours worked.

43. Short-term and casual employees

Short-term and casual employees are employees without a guaranteed minimum number of hours of work per pay period or with short-term employment arrangements for a period less than 3 months, irrespective of whether there is a guaranteed minimum number of hours of paid work or not.

Table 6. Short-term employees versus casual and intermittent employees
Short term employees versus casual and intermittent employees
Box 6: Examples of short-term and casual employees

A person is hired as an employee in a factory to work for 10 weeks as a replacement worker for an employee that is on maternity leave. The worker is paid for each piece produced. This person is a short-term employee because:

  • The maternity leave replacement period is in a contract or by understanding limited to 10 weeks which is less than 3 months;
  • The replacement worker is hired as an employee and is paid by the piece.

A person is hired as a harvest helper on a farm and is paid for the time worked. The harvest is expected to take 3 weeks. This person is a short-term employee because:

  • there is an understanding that the person will be employed only during the harvest period which is less than 3 months;
  • the worker is paid in return for time worked.

A cook with a zero-hour contract or agreement with a restaurant owner who calls the chef for assistance in the morning if the restaurant has a lot of reservations for tables is considered a casual employee because he or she is:

  • only called to work and paid when there is a need, without any guaranteed pay or work (it is therefore not relevant that the agreement is ongoing until further notice);
  • the chef may not work any hours or may even work more than full-time hours on some occasions;
  • paid for time worked.

A construction worker showing his/her availability to work that day by waiting at a specific point in the street. If there is work then the worker is paid for the time worked that day. This worker is considered a casual employee because of:

  • Being hired by different employers on a day-to-day basis;
  • Working today does not guarantee any employment on the next or following days;
  • Being paid in cash and/or kind in return for time worked.

44. Paid apprentices, trainees and interns

Paid apprentices, trainees and interns are employees who perform any activity to produce goods or provide services for others, in order to acquire workplace experience or skills in a trade or profession and receive payment in return for work performed. Acquiring “workplace experience or skills” may occur through traditional, formal or informal arrangements whether or not a specific qualification or certification is issued. They are usually remunerated at a reduced rate compared to fully qualified workers.

They include persons involved in:

  • paid formal or informal traineeships, apprenticeships, internships or other types of programmes, according to national circumstances; and
  • paid skills training or retraining schemes within employment promotion programmes, when engaged in the production process of the economic unit for which they work.
Box 7: Examples paid apprentices, trainees and interns

A person learning to  become a plumber receives  reduced rate of  pay because he is learning the profession is classified among Paid apprentices, trainees and interns because he is:

  • Employed by a plumber who provides on the job training;
  • paid at a reduced compared to a fully qualified plumber;
  • The intention is to learn the trade.

A formerly unemployed person learning new skills on the job to increase chances of getting paid employment. The person is closely supervised and receives guidance for how to perform the work.   This person is considered Paid apprentices, trainees and interns because:

  • Receiving guidance on the job on performing the new skill/profession
  • Receiving a reduced pay compared to a regular employee with the skill/profession being trained for
  • The intention is to gain on-the job-skills

Student spending short period during the education in a business to obtain work experience and on-the-job-skills. The student receives reduced pay for the time worked. This person classified among Paid apprentices, trainees and interns because:

  • Receiving a reduced pay compared to a regular employee with the skill/profession being trained for;
  • Receiving guidance on the job on performing the new skill/profession;
  • The intention is to gain on-the job-skills.

C. Dependent contractors

Dependent contractors is a new status in employment category, introduced with ICSE-18.  Various terms, such as “dependent self-employed” or “disguised employment relationship”, have been used to describe the status of workers in the grey area between independent workers and employees.

Dependent Contractors have posed a major challenge for many statistical agencies in both the developed and developing world. Frequently they have been classified either as own-account workers or as employees, but without no clear treatment. This leads to an overestimation of one or other of own-account workers or employees (or of both) as well as hampering international harmonization. Moreover, it is difficult to monitor structural change in this important form of employment, which is considered by many researchers to be growing. This situation also impacts on monitoring ability of structural change among both genuine employees and genuinely independent workers.

Dependent contractors are defined statistically as workers who have:

Contractual arrangements of a commercial nature (but not a contract of employment) to provide goods or services for or through another economic unit,

and satisfy the following conditions:

  • they are not employees of that economic unit, but are dependent on that unit for organization and execution of the work, income, or for access to the market;
  • they are workers employed for profit, who are dependent on another entity that exercises control over their productive activities and directly benefits from the work performed by them;
  • the activity of the dependent contractor would potentially be at risk in the event of termination of the contractual relationship with that economic unit.

As workers employed for profit, dependent contractors are usually responsible for arranging their own social insurance and other social contributions, and the entity on which the workers are s dependent does not withhold income tax for them. ICSE-18 identifies two sub-groups of dependent contractors:

  • workers who provide their labour to others but have contractual arrangements that are akin to self-employment;
  • workers who own and operate their own business but do not have full control or authority over their work.

Statistics are needed about both groups of dependent contractors to inform policy concerns about:

  • excessive or abusive use of contractors,
  • transfer of economic risk from employers to workers and
  • growth of non-standard employment arrangements.

The separation between the two subgroups would require the collection of additional information such as the investments made in financial or material resources.

Box 8: Examples of dependent contractors

A vehicle driver, who works for a transport company, but is considered by the company as self-employed. The driver has a commercial agreement, and the transport company provides the work and determines the payment but takes no responsibility for the drivers insurance, taxes and social contributions or to ensure that the hours worked by the driver fall within the legal limits for professional drivers. Such drivers are considered as Dependent contractors because they:

  • have a commercial agreement and are in employment for profit;
  • need to make their own arrangements for taxes and social insurance;
  • are dependent on the transport company that determines the prices and organizes the work.

A hairdresser, who ‘rents’ a chair in a hairdressing salon. The hairdresser purchases materials (shampoos, dyes etc.) from the salon owner and the salon owner decides on the price of the services and might decide on work schedules, salon opening times and allocation of customers. The hairdresser receives payment from the customers but must pay a portion of that to the salon owner and has to make his or her own arrangements to pay taxation and social insurance. This hairdresser is considered to be a Dependent contractor because she or he:

  • Is paid by the clients directly i.e. has a commercial agreement and is a worker in employment for profit;
  • needs to arrange own taxes and social insurance;
  • is dependent on the salon owner, that controls access to clients, price setting the services and decides on the products to be used.

A consultant, who is contracted by an enterprise to provide capacity building training to the clients of the enterprise. The enterprise organizes and supervises the work. The consultant submits invoices and receives fees for the services provided at a price set by the enterprise. The consultant needs to make his or her own arrangements for tax payments and social security contributions. The consultant receives access to resources, equipment and clients, through the enterprise. This consultant is considered a Dependent contractor because she or he:

  • has a commercial agreement and is a worker in employment for profit;
  • needs to arrange his or her own taxes and social insurances;
  • Is dependent on the enterprise that supervises and organizes the work carried out by the consultant, as well as providing the material needed.

A homeworker who is subcontracted to perform tasks such as assembly work in manufacturing garments. A trader provides the main raw materials for the productions and pays the homeworker by the piece for the finished goods at a price set by the trader. The homeworker incurs various costs of production such as the workplace, equipment (for example sewing machines), additional supplies, utilities and transport. This homeworker is considered to be a dependent contractor because she or he:

  • has a commercial agreement and is a worker in employment for profit;
  • dependent on the trader that provides the work and main raw materials as well as setting the piece rate.

A waiter in a restaurant who does not receive payment for time worked, is paid by tips from the clients to the restaurant and does not have a contract of employment Is considered a Dependent contractor because she or he:

  • does not have a contract/agreement of employment with the restaurant but is paid by tips only from the clients to the restaurant;
  • is dependent on the restaurant that provides and supervises the work, supervises the work.

E. Contributing family workers

Contributing family workers assist a family member or household member in either:

(a) a market-oriented enterprise operated by the family or household member; 

OR

(b) a job in which the assisted family or household member is an employee or dependent contractor.

Irrespective of the type of assistance provided by  contributing family workers, they:

  • do not receive regular payments, such as a wage or salary, in return for the work performed;
  • may benefit in kind or receive irregular payments in cash as a result of the outputs of their work through family or intra-household transfers, derived from the profits of the enterprise or from the income of the other person;
  • do not make the most important decisions affecting the enterprise or have responsibility for it.
Box 9: Examples of contributing family workers

Children helping their parents in their small grocery store attached to their house during peak hours of the day, or when the parents are away. From time to time, they receive some pocket money for helping out in the store. These children are considered contributing family workers because:

  • They receive irregular cash or in-kind payments from their parents, but otherwise benefit from the additional profit of the store through intra-household transfers and increased household income and consumption;
  • They do not make the most important decisions affecting the store and have no responsibility for it.

 A husband helps his wife on the rice fields to produce rice that is sold at the local market. The wife is responsible for the rice production; she organizes the planting, maintenance and the harvest of the rice. The husband is considered a contributing family member because:

  • The production of the rice is intended for sale or barter;
  • He does not receive any payments for the work, but may otherwise benefit from the additional profit of the rice sold through the increased household income and consumption;
  • The husband helps but does not make the most important decisions and has no direct responsibility for it.

Sisters who help their brother living in the same household, who is employed by a tailor, with his tailoring work. The sisters are not paid for this work.  The sisters are considered contributing family members because:

  • The brother is an employee of the tailor and the sisters assist him in this work;
  • They sisters do not receive any payments for the work but may benefit from increased household income.

FAQ

No. While these examples represent occupations commonly observed in a specific status of employment, it is important to note that two individuals holding the same occupation may not necessarily fall into the same status in employment category, i.e., not all hairdressers are dependent contractors. When going through the examples it is important not just to consider the occupation, but also to carefully consider the defining conditions and characteristics of the employment relationship in jobs in the respective status in employment category.

The ICSE-18 status in employment categories are defined independently of formality status. Except for Owner-operators of corporations, each status in employment category can therefore comprise both informal and formal workers.

The ICSE-18 status in employment categories are defined irrespective of the quality of employment, such as pay level, decency of working conditions or working age. Any person in employment can therefore be classified into any of the mutually exclusive status in employment categories. Frequently however, individuals working in illegal forms of work or as forced labour are falling beyond the scope of the sampling frame of standard labour force surveys and are therefore not captured.

How to measure ICSE-18 in a household survey

The modular approach

The implementation of ICSE-18 in a Labour Force survey follows a modular approach. It builds upon the current widespread country practice of using a self-identification question. In this way it is relatively easy to integrate ICSE-18 into an already existing survey and it will remain possible to derive ICSE-93 and ICSE-18 in parallel (for most countries).

The modular approach focuses on establishing the boundaries between the different categories with objective criteria to achieve better precision in the measurement than can be achieved with self-identification alone and increased international harmonization. This modular structure allows a flexible approach that can be used in different statistical sources with different levels of detail and frequency, depending on the national context and need. The different key characteristics within the different modules can be turned into one question, or in a few cases two or more questions that can be directly integrated into an already existing survey. Many of the key-characteristics (such as having employees or not, forms of remuneration, characteristics related to the employment contract/agreement) are already part of the LFS in many countries. Nonetheless, some elements will be new for many countries.

The approach and the different modules for collecting ICSE-18 assume the correct identification of persons in employment as defined by the 19th ICLS resolution 1, as well as the  correct identification and separation of the different jobs for persons who have multiple jobs. The modules and questions presented here can be applied for categorize a specific job held by the person in employment.

The ILO has developed a model LFS questionnaire for CAPI following the modular approach, which has already been partly tested by several countries. The following section provides some examples with explanations of each step of the modular approach.  

A first step for countries would therefore be to assess the current LFS and identify relevant questions for measuring ICSE-18 already included in the national LFS.  Even though many of the questions needed would typically already be included in an existing LFS, the collection of ICSE-18 will, for most countries, lead to an increase of the respondent burden. It is, however, important to keep in mind that filters are used actively in the modular approach and that, in practice, most respondents will only be asked around 2 additional questions, while a few will be asked more. The gain is that the information collected will be based on more objective criteria, with better and more precise boundaries between the different categories. Considering the importance of status in employment categories in all sorts of different analysis, and the additional detail and contemporary relevance provided by ICSE-18, this is an essential and welcome improvement.     

The sequence of questions relating to potential dependent contractors among the self-declared self-employed (second track) is a result of the work carried out so far by countries and the ILO to test the identification of the dependent contractors. This sequence can be viewed as a starting point for countries to assess the identification of dependent contractors among self-declared self-employed within the country with the objective to potentially reduce the sequence and strike a balance between effective measurement and low respondent burden. 

Figure 2. Three step structure of status of employment categorization
Three step structure of status of employment categorization

Sample questions

It is important to note that these are examples of questions based on our current knowledge of good practice at national level. Over time, as more experience is gained, the ILO model questions will be updated. For implementation at national level, it is essential to adapt the questions to reflect national circumstances, and to undertake question testing at national level to ensure the terms used are understood by respondents.

 Currently the examples given do not include instructions for the treatment of missing and “don’t know” responses. This is an important aspect that needs to be considered when implementing ICSE-18 nationally. However, the development of global recommendations regarding this requires more input from countries based on implementing ICSE-18.  Over time, this may allow clearer guidance on the treatment of “don’t know” responses. For the most recent version of the ILO questionnaire, see the LFS resources page

 

STEP 1 Starting point

The starting point for integrating ICSE-18 in an already existing household survey would be the question currently used for deriving ICSE-93 (i.e., self-declared status in employment). This would typically be a question asking the respondent directly regarding his/her status in employment:

Example 1:

MJJ_EMP_REL

 

Do you work…?

READ

  1. As an employee
  2. In (your/his/her) own business activity
  3. Helping in a family or household business
  4. As an apprentice, intern
  5. Helping a family member who works for someone else

OR

Example 2:

Do you work as an:

  1. Employee
  2. Employer
  3. Own-account worker
  4. Trainee, apprentice
  5. Unpaid family Worker

Depending on the outcome of this question (i.e. the self-declared status in employment), four different groups are identified:

  • Self-declared employees (1 in Ex1 or 1 in Ex 2)
  • Self-declared self-employed (2 in Ex 1 or 2,3 in Ex 2)
  • Self-declared contributing family workers (3,5 in Ex1 or 4 in Ex 2)
  • Self-declared trainees, apprentices (4 in Ex1 or 4 in Ex2).

Depending on in which of the four self-declared categories the respondent is in, he/she will be filtered to a few additional questions that set the necessary boundaries for identifying the different ICSE-18 categories.

Module for self-declared contributing family workers

Those that have self-declared as contributing family workers would need to be asked two additional questions: responsibility for decision-making and form of remuneration.

Responsibility for decision-making

Filter: All self-declared contributing family workers

MJJ_CFW_CHK

Who usually makes the decisions about the running of the family business…?

READ

  1. (You/NAME)
  2. (You/NAME) together with others
  3. Other family members only
  4. Other (non-related) person(s) only

Respondents answering 1, 2 are classified as independent workers and should follow the same route/filtering as other self-declared self-employed (see further below). 

Form of remuneration

Filter: All self-declared contributing family workers

MJJ_REM_TYP

Which of the following types of pay (do/does) (you/NAME) receive for this work? 

 READ AND  MARK ALL THAT APPLY

  1. A wage or salary
  2. Payment by piece of work completed
  3. Commissions
  4. Tips
  5. Fees for services provided
  6. Payment with meals or accommodation
  7. Payment in products
  8. OTHER CASH PAYMENT (SPECIFY):_________________
  9. NOT PAID

Those answering a: wage or salary are defined as employees and should follow the same route as other self-declared employees (see below). Those that do not have responsibility of decision-making and do not receive a wage or salary are defined as ICSE-18 category:

  • Contributing family workers.

Self-declared apprentice, trainees

Respondents who are self-declared as apprentices, trainees or interns can be directly to an ICSE-18 category:

Aggregated ICSE-18 category:=> Employees

Detailed ICSE-18 category: ===> Paid apprentices, trainees and interns.

Module for self-declared employees including dependent contractors (1st track)

Respondents that have self-declared as employees would need to receive a question on form of remuneration (same question as for self-declared own-account workers) and Employer’s contribution to social insurance.

Form of remuneration

Filter: All self-declared employees

MJJ_REM_TYP

Which of the following types of pay (do/does) (you/NAME) receive for this work? 

 READ AND MARK ALL THAT APPLY

  1. A wage or salary
  2. Payment by piece of work completed
  3. Commissions
  4. Tips
  5. Fees for services provided
  6. Payment with meals or accommodation
  7. Payment in products
  8. OTHER CASH PAYMENT (SPECIFY):_________________
  9. NOT PAID

Those answering a: Wage or Salary can be directly assigned to ICSE-18 category Employees

For those not answering a:  Wage or Salary further information is needed in order to make the distinction between employees and dependent contractors i.e. 1st track of identifying dependent contractors. Employer’s contribution to social insurance can be used to create this distinction.

Employer’s contribution to social insurance

Filter: All self-declared employees

MIE_SOCPRO

Does your employer pay contributions to the [insert national relevant social insurance scheme] for you

  1. YES
  2. NO

       97 DON´T KNOW

Based on the two above questions the following aggregated ICSE-18 categories can be derived:
  • Employees: Those respondents who receive a wage or salary and those respondents who do not receive a wage or salary but whose employer contributes to social insurance on behalf of the employee.
  • Dependent contractors (1st track): Those respondents who do not receive a wage or salary and where the employer does not contribute to social insurance on behalf of the respondent.

Module for detailed categorization of employees (step 3)

(Targets all respondents defined as employees based on the above questions.)

Respondents already defined  as employees should be asked  up to two additional questions in order to enable the derivation of the detailed categories of employees i.e. Permanency of the contract/agreement and Duration of the contract/agreement.

An additional question regarding zero-hours contract/agreement can be added if this is deemed to be  relevant in the country.

Permanency of the contract/agreement

Filter: All those defined as being employees

MJC_CONOP

Is (your/NAME’s) contract or agreement…?

READ

  1. For a specified period of time
  2. Until the date a task is completed
  3. Permanent or until retirement
  4. Ongoing with no specified end date

Respondents answering 3, 4 are considered to have a permanent contract/agreement, those answering 1,2 a fixed term or short term contract.

Duration of the contract/agreement

Filter: All those defined as being employees and not having a permanent contract/agreement

MJC_TEMPDUR

How long in total is (your/NAME’s) current agreement?

  1. DAILY CONTRACT/AGREEMENT
  2. LESS THAN ONE MONTH
  3. 1 TO LESS THAN 3 MONTHS
  4. 3 TO LESS THAN 6 MONTHS
  5. 6 TO LESS THAN 12 MONTHS
  6. 12 TO LESS THAN 24 MONTHS
  7. TWO YEARS OR MORE
  8. NO SPECIFIED DURATION

Those answering 1-3 are categorized as Short-term and casual employees, those answering 4-8 fixed term employees.

Zero-hours contract/agreement (can be added if deemed relevant within the national context)

Filter: All employees

MCD_CONMIN

Are you at least guaranteed that you will get some work or hours in your job?

  1. YES, MINIMUM HOURS OR WORK GUARANTEED
  2. NO, ZERO-HOUR CONTRACT, CONTACTED WHEN NEEDED

This question should be asked of all employees and if answering 2 they should be defined as Short-term and casual employees regardless of other characteristics of the contract (permanent, fixed term, duration).

Based on the above question the detailed ICSE-18 categories of employees can be derived i.e.:

  • Permanent employees.
  • Fixed-term employees.
  • Short-term and casual employees.
  • Paid apprentices, trainees and interns.

Paid apprentices, trainees and interns: already identified in the self-declared status in employment question, no further information needed.

Permanent employees: employees with a permanent contract/agreement of employment.

Fixed-term employees: employees not having a permanent contract/agreement of employment and where the duration of the contract/agreement is 3 months or more.

Short-term and casual employees: employees not having a permanent contract/agreement of employment and where the duration of the contract/agreement is less than 3 months.

If the question regarding zero-hours contract/agreement is included then all employees with a zero-hours contract/agreement are defined as Short-term and casual employees regardless of the permanency or duration of the contract/agreement.

Module for self-declared self-employed

Targets self-declared self-employed and self-declared contributing family workers who do take part oin the most important decisions

The first step is to establish, whether the respondents in this target group have employees and whether the enterprise is incorporated:

Having employees

Filter: Self-declared self-employed and self-declared contributing family workers that do take part in making the most important decisions

MJJ_HIRES

Do you hire any paid employees on a regular basis?

  1. YES
  2. NO

Incorporated

Filter: Self-declared self-employed and self-declared contributing family workers that do take part in making the most important decisions

MJL_CORP

Is your business incorporated? For example as a [insert national terms for incorporated enterprises]?

  1. YES
  2. NO

        97.  DON´T KNOW

  • Based on these two questions three broad groups can be identified:
  1. Employers and the two detailed categories of employers;
  2. Independent workers with the detailed category of Owner-operators of corporations without employees and
  3. Potential dependent contractors (2nd track) :

       1. Aggregated ICSE-18 category: Employers – all within the target group who have paid employees on a regular basis, including the following detailed ICSE-18 categories 

  • Employers in corporations: having paid employees on a regular basis and an incorporated enterprise.
  • Employers in household market enterprises: having paid employees on a regular basis and do not have an incorporated enterprise.

       2. Aggregated ICSE-18 category Independent workers without employees (own-account workers), including the following detailed ICSE-18 category:

  • Owner-operators of corporations without employees: having an incorporated enterprise without paid employees on a regular basis

       3. Potential dependent contractors (2nd track) – those without regular employees and who do not have an incorporated enterprise.

Potential dependent contractors – 2nd track

(Group C identified above)

The two-step approach targets respondents identified in Group C. The approach first establishes whether there is a dependent relationship and, secondly, whether a degree of control is exercised by the actor on whom the worker is dependent. If both conditions are met, this is a strong indication that the respondent in Group C should be defined as a dependent contractor due to the dependency and the limitations in authority to make essential operational and/or economical decisions over the work carried out. If one of the criteria is not met the respondent is defined as an independent worker.

The sequence of questions as presented below is  the  result of the work carried out so far by countries and the ILO. It can be viewed as a starting point for a further assessment of which dependent relationships and which elements of control need to be established in order to obtain a comprehensive measurement. This can then be weighed against the increased response burden of including additional questions, in order to find the right balance between the two.

Proposed questions for assessing the identification of dependent contractors among self-declared self-employed without employees who do not own and operate an incorporated enterprise.

Main client

Filter: all in target group C

MJI_ MAINCLIENT

In the last 12 months, did most of (your/his/her) income from the [business/activity] come from one client

  1. YES
  2. NO

Mediation of clients

Filter: If not main client (i.e. If MAINCLIENT=2)

MJI_ MIFOCLIENT

 Do you get your customers, clients or buyers through someone else, for example from another company, intermediary or person?

                READ

  1. Yes all of them (Go to 4)                                                             
  2. Yes most of them (Go to 4)
  3. Yes, but only some of them (Go to 3)           
  4. No (Go to 3)

Upstream dependency

Filter: If no main client or no intermediary (i.e.  MAINCLIENT=2 and MJI_ MIFOCLIENT=3,4)

MJI_JOB_DO

In this job, do you

                READ

  1. Sell products or services from only one company?
  2. Make products or provide services for only one company?
  3. Work with materials or equipment provided by just one company?

READ

  1. NONE OF THE ABOVE

Forms of control

Filter: To all respondents in the target group C that either have a main client, intermediary, single supplier or is a franchise.

ASK IF MJI_ MAINCLIENT = 1 or MJI_MIFOCLIENT = 1,2 or  MJI_JOB_DO = 1,2,3)

MJI_ INTERM_DO

ASK IF MJI_ MAINCLIENT = 1

α Does this client set?

ASK IF MJI_ MIFOCLIENT = 1,2

β Does this company, intermediary or person set?

ASK IF MJI_JOB_DO = 1,2,3

γ Does this company set …?

READ AND MARK ALL THAT APPLY

  1. The price of the products or services that you offer?
  2. The minimum amount of sales or tasks you must complete?
  3. The places, routes or areas where you do your work?
  4. How to organize the work?
  5. The supplier(s) to use?
  6. Provide the premises or machines you use?

7. NONE OF THE ABOVE

Respondents in target group C who answer (MJI_ MAINCLIENT=1 or  MJI_ MIFOCLIENT=1,2 or MJI_JOB_DO=1-3) and (MJI_ INTERM_DO=1-6) are defined as:

  • Dependent contractors (2nd track).

The remaining respondents in group C are defined as:

  • Aggregated ICSE-18 category => Independent workers without employees
  • Detailed ICSE-18 category => Own-account workers in household market enterprises without employees

Flow Charts

For guidance on how a Status in Employment category can be derived from responses to an LFS questionnaire, see “Variable derivation guide for ILO Model LFS Questionnaire for CAPI“.

It presents flow charts that show which response options for specific questions should be considered as characteristics or conditions for the different ICSE-18 Status in Employment categories.

Main versus Second Job

The ICSE-18 status of employment categories should be identifiable at least for the main job (i.e. the job with the longest hours usually worked), but questions to allow its identification for the second job or any number of additional jobs can, in principle be, included in a questionnaire. Here national circumstances, added value, and the potential respondent fatigue due to lengthier surveys should be carefully considered.

Cross-cutting variables

To provide complete and coherent statistics on work relationships, information is needed on characteristics of jobs that are not captured by the classification of status in employment. This information can be captured through a set of variables that identify further characteristics associated with the degree of risk, stability, and permanence of a particular employment arrangement and that cut across several status in employment categories. These cross-cutting variables may be used for the generation of statistics in their own right or combined in output with relevant status categories to construct output classifications relevant for national descriptive and analytical purposes.

ICSE-18 groups cross-cutting variable into three categories:

  • Required for deriving the status in Employment
  • Essential for the compilation of coherent statistics on work relationships
  • Recommended: that may be relevant depending on context and need

The cross-cutting variables by category are presented in the table below.

Table 7. Required, essential and recommended cross-cutting variables

For definitions of the different cross-cutting variables and the output modalities see (Insert link to conceptual framework). For information on questions to be used and how to derive these from variables, see “Variable derivation guide for ILO Model LFS Questionnaire for CAPI”.

Indicators

Indicators are a set of labour market statistics published periodically, potentially at different frequencies, based on national priorities and circumstances and are proposed to allow assessment and monitoring of:

  • labour market performance;
  • the stability of employment relationships;
  • exposure of the employed population to economic risk;
  • participation in non-standard employment arrangements;
  • statuses referring to the unpaid forms of work are also included.

While depending on national circumstances there may be interest in publishing indicators on more than one job, indicators referring to employment should be more comprehensive for the main job than the secondary on any additional job.

To reflect national circumstances, the set of indicators used should comprise a selection from among the indicators listed below:

(a) Headcounts, average number of hours usually worked per week, and rates calculated in relation to total employment of persons employed in the main job in the following groups:

  • independent workers;
  • dependent workers;
  • workers in employment for profit;
  • workers in employment for pay;
  • each of the aggregate categories (A to G) defined in ICSE-18-A and in ICSE-18-R;
  • the 10 detailed categories specified in ICSE-18;

(b) For persons with more than one job, headcounts and rates for the following groups:

  • all persons with more than one job with the rate calculated as follows:

and based on their status in employment in their second job as a share of all persons with more than one job:

  • dependent contractors;
  • own-account workers in household market enterprises without employees;
  • fixed-term employees;
  • short-term and casual employees;

(c) The ratios of dependent contractors in the main job to employees and to independent workers without employees;

(d) Sub-categories of employees as a share of all employees;

(e) The ratio of employees with non-permanent main job to total employees in main job;

(f) Duration of work agreement for:

  • Fixed-term employees;
  • Short-term and casual employees.

(g) The duration of employment in the current economic unit for all statuses in employment.

(h) Employees with job-dependent social protection as a share of all employees.

To provide information about the authority and levels of participation of men, women and young people in own-use production work the following indicators may be used:

(a) Headcounts, average number of hours usually worked per week, and rates calculated in relation to the working-age population and to all workers in own-use production of goods for the following categories in ICSaW-18:

  • Employers in own-use production of goods.
  • Independent workers in own-use production of goods without employees.
  • Family helpers in own-use production of goods.

(b) Headcounts, average number of hours usually worked per week, and rates calculated in relation to the working-age population for the following categories in ICSaW-18:

  • Employers in own-use provision of services.
  • Independent workers in own-use provision of services without employees.
  • Family helpers in own-use provision of services.

To provide information about the levels of participation of youth and adult men and women in paid and unpaid trainee work the following indicators may be used:

(a) Headcounts and average number of hours usually worked per week for the following categories in ICSaW-18:

  • Paid apprentices, trainees and interns.
  • Unpaid trainee workers.

(b) Ratios calculated for each of the above groups in relation to total employment and to all persons in paid and unpaid trainee work.

(c) For countries interested in analysing trainee workers overall, a combined indicator could be calculated as follows:

To provide information about the levels of participation of youth and adult men and women in volunteer work the following indicators may be used:

Headcounts, average number of hours actually worked per week, and rates calculated in relation to the working age population and to all persons in volunteer work for the following categories in ICSaW-18:

  • Direct volunteers.
  • Organization-based volunteers.

To support analysis about multi-party employment arrangements, countries may find it useful to develop the following indicators:

Participation in multi-party employment arrangements including headcounts, average number of hours usually worked per week, and rates calculated in relation to total employment (or total employees) for the following groups:

  • Agency workers.
  • Employees providing outsourced services.
  • Workers in employment promotion schemes.

List of tables, figures and boxes

Additional resources

  • 20th ICLS resolution I concerning statistics on work relationships
  • Conceptual Framework for Statistics on Work Relationships
  • Integrating ICSE-18 in a household survey
  • LFS tools and model questionnaire