strsubcodechain Labour compensation & Hours Worked - Data and Methods
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Subjects > Labour compensation & Hours Worked

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Subject: Hours

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Subject: Labour compensation

Key statistical concept
Four different concepts of Labour compensation are included in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) database: Wage rates, Earnings, Labour costs and Unit labour costs.

Following the ICLS (International Conference of Labour Statisticians) terminology, the four concepts above are linked together as follows:

1) Wage rates (basic wages, cost-of-living allowances, and other guaranteed and regularly paid allowances)

i) overtime payments
ii) bonuses and gratuities regularly paid
iii) remuneration for time not worked
iv) bonuses and gratuities irregularly paid
v) payments in kind

2) Earnings = 1 + i) + ii) + iii) + iv) + v)

vi) employer contribution to statutory social security schemes or to private funded social insurance schemes
vii) unfunded employee social benefits paid by employers in the form of: (a) children's, spouse's, family, education or other allowances in respect of dependants; (b) payments made to workers because of illness, accidental injury, maternity leave, etc.; (c) severance payments

3)Compensation of employees = 2 + vi) + vii)

viii) cost of vocational training
ix) cost of welfare training (i.e. cost of canteens)
x) labour cost not elsewhere classified (i.e. costs of transport of workers, cost of work clothes, cost of recruitment)
xi) taxes regarded as labour costs (i.e. taxes on employment or payrolls)

4) Labour costs = 3 + viii) + ix) + x) + xi)

5) Unit labour costs

Unit labour costs are defined as total labour costs expended in the production of one unit of output.

Exceptions to this terminology are noted in country metadata.

Subject: Labour compensation > Earnings

Key statistical concept
Deviations by earnings series from existing international guidelines are as follows:

- Employers' contribution to social security is included: Poland (from 1999 onwards), Denmark, Luxembourg

- Severance pay is included: Canada, Austria, Turkey 

- Bonuses regularly paid are excluded: Belgium, France, Germany

- Bonuses irregularly paid are excluded: Estonia, Greece, Portugal

- Payments in kind are excluded: US, Japan, Korea, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland

- Payments for time not worked are excluded: Estonia, Sweden

- Exclusions not specifically listed: Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Turkey, United Kingdom

More detailed metadata are available at country level.

Subject: Labour compensation > Earnings > Manufacturing

Variables collected

Differences to the target series are listed below for relevant countries:

Mexico: Monthly earnings
Australia: Weekly earnings - Full-time adult employees
Japan: Monthly earnings
Korea: Monthly earnings
Austria: Monthly earnings - Mining and manufacturing
Belgium: Male workers in industry
Czech Republic: Monthly earnings
France: Hourly wage rates
Hungary: Monthly earnings
Italy: Hourly wage rates - Industry, including construction
Luxembourg: Monthly earnings - Industry, excluding construction
Netherlands: Hourly wage rates
Norway: Monthly earnings
Poland: Monthly earnings
Slovak Republic: Monthly earnings
Spain: Industry, excluding construction 
United Kingdom: Weekly earnings

Key statistical concept
The target series for hourly earnings in Part One of MEI correspond to seasonally adjusted average total earnings in manufacturing paid per employed person per hour, including overtime pay and regularly recurring cash supplements. Where hourly earnings series are not available, a series could refer to weekly or monthly earnings. In this case, a series for full-time or full-time equivalent employees is preferred to an all employees series. However, the definition may vary from country to country, particularly with respect to workers covered, treatment of bonuses and retrospective wage payments, and size of reporting unit.

Aggregation and consolidation
Area totals for hourly earnings in manufacturing are annually chain-linked Laspeyres indices. The weights for each individual link are based on the previous year’s data for compensation of employees in industry (excluding construction) and private consumption purchasing power parity (PPP). Hence the aggregate indices are subject to revision as a result of revisions to the national accounts and the PPPs. Weights for the latest year are presented in the subject table “Hourly earnings (manufacturing)” in Part One. In general, new weights for the most recent complete year are incorporated in the December MEI edition each year. These weights are obtained from National Accounts data based on the 1993 System of National Accounts (SNA 93).

Canada, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom provide seasonally adjusted earnings series. The Secretariat seasonally adjusts the earnings series of Mexico, Australia, Korea, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. Earnings series for manufacturing are currently unavailable for Greece, Iceland and Switzerland.

Quality comments
As the earnings series for most countries show strong seasonality, publishing seasonally adjusted series ensures better international comparability.

Subject: Hourly
Measure: Index publication base

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Subject: Hourly
Measure: Index publication base SA

Unit of measure used


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Subject: Private sector
Measure: Index publication base

Unit of measure used


Reference period

Subject: Private sector
Measure: Index publication base SA

Unit of measure used


Reference period