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June 13 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is soliciting comments by August 14, 2023 concerning the proposed reinstatement of the “ATUS Leave and Job Flexibilities Module.”

The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) is the Nation's first federally administered, continuous survey on time use in the United States. It measures, for example, time spent with children, working, sleeping, or doing leisure activities. In the United States, several existing Federal surveys collect income and wage data for individuals and families, and analysts often use such measures of material prosperity as proxies for quality of life. Time-use data substantially augment these quality-of-life measures. The data also can be used in conjunction with wage data to evaluate the contribution of non-market work to national economies. This enables comparisons of production between nations that have different mixes of market and non-market activities.

The ATUS is used to develop nationally representative estimates of how people spend their time. This is done by collecting a time diary about the activities survey respondents did over a 24-hour period “yesterday,” from 4 a.m. on the day before the interview until 4 a.m. on the day of the interview. In the one-time interview, respondents also report who was with them during the activities, where they were, how long each activity lasted, and if they were paid. All of this information has numerous practical applications for sociologists, economists, educators, government policymakers, businesspersons, health researchers, and others.

The Leave and Job Flexibilities Module is sponsored by the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Women’s Bureau and supports the mission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics by providing relevant information on economic and social issues. The data from the proposed module can be used for research on the relationships between work schedules, job flexibilities, access to leave, and time use. These data enhance the understanding of people's overall well-being. The module surveys employed wage and salary workers, except those who are self-employed, aged 15 and up from a nationally representative sample.

The proposed Leave and Job Flexibilities Module will collect data about workers' access to and use of paid and unpaid leave, job flexibility, and their work schedules. This includes questions about shift work, advance notice of work schedules, workers' control over their schedules, flexible start and stop times, and work at home arrangements. These questions will provide an additional dimension to analyses of workers' job flexibility data.

Office of Management and Budget clearance is being sought for a 2024 Leave and Job Flexibilities Module of questions to follow the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). The proposed 2024 module will be included in the ATUS through December 2024.

The data from the proposed Leave and Job Flexibilities Module will support the BLS mission of providing relevant information on economic and social issues. The data will add to the ATUS by providing a richer description of work, specifically workers' access to paid leave, the reasons for which workers are able to take leave, and information about the availability and use of flexible and alternative work schedules. The module will also provide more information on the relationships between work schedules, job flexibilities, and time use.

The collection of the Leave and Job Flexibilities Module in 2024 is another effort to gather data on workers' access to paid and unpaid leave. A Leave Module similar to the one being proposed was attached to the ATUS in 2011 (OMB Number 1220–0175) and in 2017–18 (OMB Number 1220–0191). The 2024 ATUS Leave and Job Flexibilities Module will accomplish similar objectives as the 2011 and 2017–18 modules. Although many questions remain the same, some have been dropped, and some have been added to obtain better information about the availability and use of flexible and alternative work schedules. As in 2011, data will be collected on employees’ access to paid and unpaid leave and their leave activities (e.g., instances of leave taking, leave denials, and non-use of leave). Like the 2017-18 Leave Module, the proposed 2024 module will also collect data on job flexibilities and work schedules.  

The information in the proposed Leave and Job Flexibilities Module is important for understanding the current nature of work and how people balance work and personal needs. The proposed Leave and Job Flexibilities questions can also be tied to previous modules to show any changes over time. Changes in workers' job flexibility and work schedules before and after the COVID–19 pandemic are of particular interest to many researchers and policy makers.
 
BLS is currently proposing to collect the 2024 module for one year.  The Women’s Bureau has expressed interest in collecting the module again in 2025 or 2026, though a second year of collection is uncertain at this time. Two years of module data would allow a greater sample size for more detailed analyses (much like the 2017-18 Leave Module allowed). Therefore, BLS is requesting clearance for three years. If BLS and the Women’s Bureau decide to collect the module beyond 2024, BLS will submit a nonsubstantive change request to update the package.  

ATUS Leave Module https://www.bls.gov/tus/modules/lvdatafiles.htm
Draft survey instrument and supporting documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/9trp31ysgb1tvgviqqmql/h?dl=0&rlkey=my2hdruvuhl31jwpyhn2puvj1
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-12596

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