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All work, no pay CHF400 billion in unpaid work performed in Switzerland

Housework makes up three quarters of unpaid work in Switzerland, and 80% of the laundry is done by women

(Keystone)

If unpaid work such as cleaning the house were paid at market rates in Switzerland, the bill would add up to CHF400 billion ($422 billion). A total of 8.7 billion hours of labour were carried out for free in 2013.

In comparison, 7.7 billion hours of work were compensated, according to the latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office. The amount of unpaid work was 14% greater than the amount of paid work.

Unpaid work was more likely to have been performed by women (62%) than by men. Work in the home accounted for 6.6 billion hours and three quarters of the unpaid work.

Cooking and cleaning were the unpaid tasks performed most often in the home, both for men and for women, although it was women who did laundry the most – 80% of the time.

Childcare and to a much smaller extent care of adults accounted for 1.5 billion hours of unpaid work. A much smaller proportion – 670 million hours (7.6%) – was spent on volunteering.

An earlier study by two Zurich universities found that people who engage in volunteer work in addition to their regular jobs are more happy with their work-life balance.

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