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Glossary and references



All people in the working–age population who during the reference week:

  • worked for one hour or more for pay or profit in the context of an employee/employer relationship or self–employment
  • worked without pay for one hour or more in work which contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business or professional practice owned or operated by a relative. Prior to April 1990, defined as 15 hours or more
  • had a job but were not at work due to:
    • own illness or injury
    • personal or family responsibilities
    • bad weather or mechanical breakdown
    • direct involvement in industrial dispute
    • leave or holiday.


A self–employed person who hires one or more employees.

Self–employed and without employees

A person who operates his or her own economic enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade (including partnerships) and hires no employees.

The self–employed can be defined in terms of the criteria of economic risk and control. Most or all of the following characteristics are indicative of self–employed people. They control their own work environment and are responsible for getting the work done and make decisions on; when, where and what hours they work; how much they get paid and when they take holidays. They invest their own money in the enterprise and provide the major assets and equipment for the job.

Paid employee

A person who has an employment contract and receives remuneration for his or her work in the form of wages, salary, commission, tips, piece rates or pay in kind. An employee has certain rights under employment legislation which are not usually available to the self–employed. These include access to personal grievance and dispute procedures, paid statutory holidays and annual holiday pay, and employment protection while taking parental leave.

Unpaid family worker

A person who works without pay in an economic enterprise that is owned and operated by a relative.

Residual categories

Don’t know

Use of this category is discretionary. The use of a category capturing don't know responses is most applicable to household surveys where don't know may be a legitimate response to certain questions.

Refused to answer

This category is only used when it is known that the respondent has purposefully chosen not to respond to the question. Use of this residual category in processing is optional. Its use is most applicable in face–to–face or telephone interviews, but may be used in self–completed questionnaires if the respondent has clearly indicated they refuse or object to answering the question.

Repeated value

Use of this category is discretionary. It is only used for questions that allow multiple responses. It is used when a respondent has given two responses that have the same code. This may be two written responses, or one tick box response and one written response. For example, someone may tick the English language tick box response option and also write "English" in the blank space.

Response Unidentifiable

This category is used when there is a response given, but:

  1. the response is illegible, or
  2. it is unclear what the meaning or intent of the response is – this most commonly occurs when the response being classified contains insufficient detail, is ambiguous or is vague, or
  3. the response is contradictory eg, both the yes and no tick boxes have been ticked, or
  4. the response is clear and seemingly within the scope of the classification but can not be coded because no suitable option (particularly other residual category options such as 'not elsewhere classified' or 'not further defined') exists in the classification or codefile.
Response outside scope

This category is used for responses that are positively identified (ie the meaning and the intent are clear) but which clearly fall outside the scope of the classification/topic as defined in the standard.

Not stated

This category is only used where a respondent has not given any response to the question asked, ie it is solely for non–response.


Caroline Brooking (1998). Status in Employment, Statistics New Zealand\Social Statistics Project, Notes database\ERBS\General Discussion

Inland Revenue help notes for taxpayers 1998 IR 186

Stuart Payne (1999). National Accounts working papers

International Labour Organisation. International Classification of Status in Employment 1993.

Statistics New Zealand (1997). Standard Institutional Sector Classification 1996.

United Nations. System of National Accounts 1993.

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