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PN 2020-03: Why and How should We Value Unpaid Work?

Housework, also called unpaid work or nonmarket work, is performed across countries and societies to enhance the well-being of individuals in households. Yet, it is not recognized as real work nor is it valued in the measurement of economic output. This Policy Note discusses why housework is a social issue and why and how it should be recognized and valued. The study finds that although housework is a choice that is decided within the household, it has important implications on human capital accumulation. Women tend to be more affected by market work interruptions caused by housework than men given their child-bearing and child-nurturing roles. The study recommends the crafting of policies and programs that can achieve the goals of empowering men and women through economic independence and help them perform their productive and reproductive roles. Specifically, it suggests to broaden opportunities for both men and women who opt out of the market work by enhancing work from home opportunities and explore granting of incentives to working couples by making a portion of child care receipts deductible from the couple’s income. It also highlights the need to improve public services that have direct and indirect consequences on unpaid work, such as having good and reliable child-care services that coincide with the eight-hour office schedule to encourage mothers to go back to work after childbirth. Further, the study recommends reforming the workplace to achieve work-life balance by legislating laws along the lines of flexi-time and the expanded maternity/paternity benefits. Lastly, the study advocates to strengthen public awareness on the value of unpaid work through information campaigns.

Philippine Institute for Development Studies
Authors Keywords
Bayudan-Dacuycuy, Connie B.; human capital; Philippines; labor force participation; housework; unpaid work;
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