Gap in un­paid work

Women pick­ing up the house­work, child­care slack

Herald Sun - - NEWS - SUSIE O’BRIEN su­san.obrien@news.com.au

UN­PAID work done by Vic­to­rian women is worth more than $205 bil­lion to the state econ­omy each year, a new re­port has found.

Women do 1.7 times more un­paid work than men, which ac­counts for 63 per cent of the to­tal amount of un­paid labour around Vic­to­ria, early results from a Deloitte Ac­cess Eco­nomics study show.

The study, com­mis­sioned by the state gov­ern­ment, says such work is equal to half the state’s gross state prod­uct in 2017-18.

It fol­lows a na­tional Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers study, that found such work in­cluded vol­un­teer­ing, child­care, car­ing for adults and do­mes­tic labour.

The top lo­ca­tions for un­paid work per capita in Vic­to­ria are Point Cook, Carl­ton North, Mel­bourne CBD, South­bank and Brunswick East.

The PwC study found men do al­most twice as much paid work as women.

Min­is­ter for Women Na­talie Hutchins said the bur­den of un­paid work and time out of the work­place to care for chil­dren were two of the main driv­ers of the gen­der pay gap, which sees women earn $244 a week less than men.

“Putting a dol­lar fig­ure on un­paid do­mes­tic and care work means we can ac­tu­ally value it,” Ms Hutchins said. “When we value un­paid work, it’s more likely we’ll share it.

“Un­til we have gen­der bal­ance with un­paid work we won’t close the pay gap be­tween men and women.”

Prue Gil­bert, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Grace Pa­pers — an or­gan­i­sa­tion help­ing work­places jug­gle work and fam­ily more equally — said the re­search con­firmed the ex­peri- ences of many fam­i­lies who “share the un­paid labour equally un­til the ar­rival of their first baby”.

Ms Gil­bert said women also take the ma­jor­ity of parental leave — both paid and un­paid — and are paid less than their male part­ners.

“Most cou­ples make de­ci­sions about ca­reer and care based on their fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion, rather than ex­plor­ing the po­ten­tial for both to work and share the care and do­mes­tic du­ties,” she said.

Brooke Ryan, 38, has been on ma­ter­nity leave from the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning since the birth of her baby, Oliver, six months.

“When I am at home, of course I am the one look­ing af­ter the baby and do­ing the ma­jor­ity of the do­mes­tic tasks,” she said.

Ms Ryan is go­ing back to work part-time in Fe­bru­ary and her hus­band, Blake, will look af­ter OIiver one day a week. “Once I’m back at work it will be more im­por­tant to share tasks,” she said.

The full re­port from Deloitte will be avail­able later this year.

Pic­ture: DAVID CAIRD

Brooke Ryan is on ma­ter­nity leave and do­ing lots of un­paid work car­ing for baby Oliver, six months, along with house­work.

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