Resolution concerning the measurement of underemployment and inadequate employment situations were adopted by the 16th International Conference of Labour Statisticians in 1998. The Resolution concerning the measurement of Underemployment and Situations of Inadequate Employment provides guidelines on two types of underemployment: time related underemployment, which is due to insufficient hours of work, and inadequate employment situations, which are due to other limitations in the labour market which limit the capacities and well being of workers. A person can be simultaneously in these two forms of underemployment.
Persons in time-related underemployment are those who during the short reference period, were willing to work additional hours, were available to do so, and had worked less hours than a selected number of hours. This definition is circumscribed to a short reference period, which must be the same that is used to measure employment and unemployment (usually one week).
- The willingness to work additional hours is the main criterion and identifies persons who, independently of the number of hours already worked during the reference week in all their jobs, express a desire or preference to work more hours.
- The availability to work additional hours identifies those persons who are ready to work additional hours within a subsequent period, if they had the opportunity to do so, from those that are not available.
- The the criterion of having worked less than a threshold relating to working time excludes those workers who want to work additional hours and are available to do so, but who already work a “sufficient” number of hours and therefore, for policy reasons, are considered to have reached their full employment level. This criterion is necessary when a country wants to link the time-related underemployed population with employment policies, to determine who are those who worked less hours than what is considered as full-time work.
Inadequate employment situations
Persons are in an inadequate employment situations when, during the reference period, they wanted to change their current work situation for reasons that limit their capacities and well-being and were available to do so. A worker may want to replace on their current paid or self employment jobs for another, transform their activities and/or the way in which they are carried out ; or the two options simultaneously.
- The willingness to change their current work situation distinguishes persons whose full employment level from the point of view of productivity and work quality, as assessed by workers themselves, is above their current level of productivity, and who want to change their current work situation. This criterion is equivalent to the willingness to work additional hours in the definition of time-related underemployment and is similar to the active job search in the unemployment definition. As with time-related underemployment, it is important to separately identify those workers who actively looked to change their current work situation.
- The reasons identify persons in inadequate employment situation, on the basis of the workers’ assessment of their own work situation regarding the potential that they have to increase their productivity and quality of work. Three response categories are separately recognized:
- The inadequate or insufficient use of workers’ occupational skills: this reason gives way to the identification of persons in skill-related inadequate employment
- The inadequate income in the current job(s): this reasons gives way to persons in income-related inadequate employment
- Excessive hours of work: this reason gives way to persons in inadequate employment related to excessive hours