Australian Bureau of Statistics
4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1995
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/06/1995
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Income Distribution: The value of unpaid work
Why measure unpaid work?
Unpaid work fulfils many important functions that directly affect well-being and quality of life in a household. Households generally need the input of both paid and unpaid work. Consequently, the way in which households fulfil these functions can lead to relative advantages and disadvantages. For example, if two similar households have the same income but one has only one member in paid work and the other has two, the first household has an economic and social advantage because a member is free to make the unpaid contribution to the household economy.
Who does unpaid work?
Overall, women did most of the unpaid work in Australia in 1992. Women spent, on average, 20% of their daily time doing unpaid household work, double the time men spent.
Women contributed 88% of the value of work done on laundry, ironing and clothes care, and 82% of the value of work done on house cleaning. Men, however, made the greatest contribution to the value of unpaid work done on home maintenance, improvement and car care; and gardening, lawn care and pool care (83% and 62% respectively).
DISTRIBUTION OF TIME SPENT ON UNPAID HOUSEHOLD WORK, 1992
Between 1984 and 1994 the proportion of women participating in the labour force has increased from 45% to 52% (see Work - national summary table). Over the same period the proportion of couples with dependent children and both partners in paid work has increased from 42% to 53% (see Family - National summary tables). In couple families where both partners are in paid work, women do less unpaid work than in couple families where only one partner is in paid work. Women who spend 40 hours a week in paid work do about five and a half hours a week less unpaid work than women not in paid work. This reduction is not because other household members increase their amount of unpaid work once a woman moves into the labour force. Therefore, either less unpaid work is being done or market substitutions have been made, for example, in the areas of child care, cleaning, ironing, meals out etc. Future Time Use Surveys will determine if the tendency for some households to replace tasks previously carried out as unpaid work with paid market replacements is increasing.
For more information on unpaid work see Australian Social Trends 1994, Unpaid household work.
The value of unpaid work
Using the individual function replacement cost method, the total value of unpaid work was estimated to be $227.8 billion in 1992. Unpaid household work, worth $209.7 billion, accounted for most of the total value. Volunteer and community work made up the remaining $18.1 billion.
Married women contributed 49% of the estimated value of unpaid household work and married men contributed a further 25%. Men and women contributed almost equally to unpaid volunteer and community work, although women not in paid employment and men in paid employment made a marginally greater contribution.
ESTIMATED VALUE(a) OF UNPAID WORK, 1992
Source: Unpaid Work and the Australian Economy
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