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Working for free Women in Switzerland do CHF250 billion in unpaid work

woman doing laundry with baby on shoulder

Women do over 60% of the unpaid work in Switzerland.

(Keystone/Gaetan Bally)

People in Switzerland performed 9.2 billion hours of unpaid work in 2016. Had they been compensated, it would have cost CHF408 ($412) billion – compared to CHF401 billion in 2013. 

Women took on 61.3% of this unpaid work, much of which involved housekeeping, but also care work and volunteering, the Federal Statistical Officeexternal link reported on Monday. Overall, housework accounted for about 75% of all unpaid work done by people over the age of 15 last year. 

Men did about 18 hours of “home and family” work, compared with 28 hours for women. Compared with 2010, women are doing about one more hour of such work per week, whereas men are taking on another 1.7 hours.

(Federal Statistical Office)

For couples whose youngest child is under 15, the overall work burden – both paid and unpaid – amounts to an average of 69.6 hours per week for mothers and 68.8 hours per week for fathers. 

According to the statistics office, men perform 61.6% of the paid work in Switzerland. Paid work in 2016 added up to 7.9 billion hours – more than a billion fewer than the 9.2 billion hours of unpaid work.

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