China court orders man to pay wife for housework in landmark case

A Beijing divorce court has ruled a man must pay his wife 50,000 yuan (£5,460) to compensate for the housework she did during their five-year marriage.

As per the ruling, the housework she carried out has been classified as ‘unpaid labour’ under China’s new civil code.

The landmark ruling comes after the man filed for divorce from his wife last year. The couple had been married since 2015.

During divorce proceedings, his wife requested additional financial compensation for housework and childcare responsibilities, arguing that he had not contributed fairly.

The court ultimately ruled in the wife’s favour, ordering the man to pay her monthly alimony of 2,000 yuan and the large one-off payment, BBC News reports.

Under a new civil law passed in the country this year, a spouse may seek compensation in a divorce if he or so bore ore responsibility in childcare, caring for elderly relatives and carrying out domestic work.

The presiding judge said that while the division of a couple’s property at the end of a marriage usually entails tangible assets, ‘housework constitutes intangible property value’.

The case, which has placed a spotlight on the role of men and women in domestic work has been widely debated online. Some stated that the compensation amount was too little.

‘I’m a bit speechless, the work of a full-time housewife is being underestimated. In Beijing, hiring a nanny for a year costs more than 50,000 yuan,’ one social media user said.

According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Chinese women spend 250% more time on domestic work than men, amounting to nearly four hours a day.

Some users pointed out that this disparity shouldn’t exist in the first place.

‘Ladies, remember to always be independent. Don’t give up work after marriage, give yourself your own way out,’ one person wrote.

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