Sharing the Load could boost economy by $1.5billion


If men take on more unpaid work at home, including household chores and family support, it could boost the $ 1.5 billion economy, a new study by Westpac shows.

Sharing the Load Report confirms that women spend more time caring for family and household chores than men. Instead, only 7% of couples who work the same hours divide their household responsibilities equally, with men in the families saying they work 19 hours a week, while mothers say they work 28 hours.

The report, compiled by Deloitte, is based on a comprehensive study of more than 2,400 New Zealanders.

However, both men and women showed an interest in changing. Men are said to have done 43% of unpaid work at home, on average, but want to raise up to 46%. Women said they did 69% of unpaid work, but almost always wanted to do 62%. Men also wanted to reduce their working hours while women wanted to increase their hours.

“It starts when the baby is born,” Westpac NZ chief executive David McLean said, noting how the pay gap for men and women will be hard to close if people continue to expect women to work more at home.

The practice of “first aid providers” always causes women to carry household items home when the couple returns to work.

“At Westpac, we want to work with others to find solutions that work for individuals, families and the country’s long-term yields,” McLean said.

A sample financial report shows that there could be a $ 1.5 billion financial boost if men take on more unpaid work at home, which helps more women increase their hours in paid work. This can increase the number of employees, help address skills shortages and strengthen the economy in the long run.

The report also points out that such changes could also help to close gender pay gap in New Zealand over time and improve women’s economic performance.

The study found major barriers that couples need to move to a larger portion of their home assets and prioritize household income and the cost of child care.

Being able to work from home was identified by 44% of respondents as a major factor that would allow them to work at paid jobs. The flexible operating system is often referred to as the next most important factor, at 42%.

The report also notes that job rotation can help boost its morale, especially with men and those with more responsibility.

“We have seen how people, businesses and governments are doing this all over the world. It is Scandinavian countries that are leading the way in changing ways of working and promoting equal division of parental and household responsibilities. In Sweden, women and men have leisure time to share with loved ones. theirs as they want and another part they need to use for themselves or discard, ”said McLean.

“In New Zealand, this may seem like a big step but as employers we know that changing the way we work is necessary to make it easier for families to change their lives. Businesses need to make the workplace more flexible, which can help workers manage their family time more effectively. , “he said.

The report also looks at how working from home during the COVID-19 Level 4 closure in 2020 affected how couples share the property.

The men also reported doing more unpaid work at home at the time, while women were working more paid than usual.

“The closure of the COVID-19 opened our eyes to the fact that the sharing of goods means to each and every one of us. For families it was very confusing, but they also provided a plan for change.”

McLean said the study represented all regions and their income, and also included people of both sexes and men and women.

“This analysis focuses on married couples. This is mainly due to the size of the data. It has also been observed that gender plays a significant role in the household environment in both husband and wife, “he said.

As a result of this research, Westpac NZ is also looking at how it can better help employees share the product, and will announce changes in 2021, McLean said.

“This research gives us the information we need to find answers as a country, as well as in our organization. Transformation is a permanent part of our mission at Westpac. Now, we are looking at ways we can help foster positive relationships with co-workers and their families,” he said.

Major results of research

  • 73% of all respondents felt that if both worked, they should share their assets equally. However, in a typical week, only 7% of couples who work the same hours of work share the same assets.
  • In families who work the same hours, men pretend to work 19 unpaid hours at home while women are said to work 28 hours.
  • Men are said to have done 43% of unpaid work at home, on average, but want to raise up to 46%.
  • Mothers said they did 69% of unpaid work, but would like to, almost, do 62%.
  • On average, women said they wanted to do 6% of paid work and 7% less on unpaid work, while men said they wanted to do 5% less on paid work and 3% more on unpaid work.

Major results of the report

  • The exemplary financial report shows equitable sharing of assets and the benefits associated with paid working hours could boost New Zealand’s economy by $ 1.5 billion a year, representing about 0.5% of New Zealand’s current GDP.
  • The report finds that there are four possible ways to improve the way household chores are distributed:
  1. Promoting dynamic work – including for men and those with high responsibilities – to enhance its effectiveness.
  2. Businesses and Governments can empower men to take parental leave.
  3. Coping with the failure of child care will help families share the property at home evenly.
  4. Criticism of traditional gender beliefs makes people different from the unspoken culture that governs the way goods are distributed.


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