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Bringing Household Services Out of the Shadows

Formalising Non-Care Work in and Around the House

Despite years of growth in the number of women in paid work, gender roles in unpaid housework have remained remarkably rigid. Unpaid housework can be outsourced to non-care household service providers, such as cleaners or housekeepers, however, high prices, a substantial tax burden and a lack of easy access impose barriers to greater formalisation of the household service sector. With the aim of increasing work-life balance for households, in particular for women in employment, and reducing the wide-ranging practice of undeclared employment, a number of OECD countries have implemented policies to formalise and boost the provision of non-care household services. This report illustrates the importance of the non-care household service sector and reviews international approaches in formalising the non-care household service market, ranging from providing tax incentives or granting social vouchers, to identify good practice. To highlight the potential economic gains that could follow from easing the housework burden, the report also estimates the economic value of unpaid housework provided by men and women.

Published on July 07, 2021