Time use

Women continue to spend a greater proportion of their time on unpaid work than men.

The Time Use Survey 2009/10 showed that men and women spent similar amounts of time on productive activities (about 6.75 hours a day). However, men were paid for most of their time (63 percent) while women were unpaid for most of their time (65 percent). This split has changed very little since 1998/99. Productive activities include labour force activities, household work, child and family care, purchasing goods and services, and community services.

Women’s greater responsibility for unpaid work is reflected in fragmented employment patterns, including a high rate of part-time work. This can have implications for their lifetime income and economic independence. 

Key findings of the Time Use Survey 2009/10

  • There were significant differences in the kinds of work men and women did, with women spending significantly more time than men on unpaid work. 
  • On average women spent 4.3 hours per day on unpaid work and 2.9 hours on paid work (compared with 4.8 hours and 2.2 hours, respectively, in 1998/99).
  • Men spent 2.5 hours on unpaid work and 4.7 hours on paid work (compared with 2.8 hours and 4.2 hours respectively in 1998/99).
  • Women who were employed part-time, were unemployed, or not in the labour force, spent more time working than men in these groups.
  • Men spent considerably less time than women on unpaid work if they were employed either full-time or part-time.  Women who were employed full-time spent on average one hour more on unpaid work than men each day.
  • Women employed part-time spent almost the same amount of time on unpaid work as women who were not in the labour force at just over 5 hours per day.  The amount of time women spent on unpaid work reduced only when women were employed full-time.