In a recent decision, a Beijing divorce court awarded a compensation of 50,000 yuan along with a monthly alimony of 2,000 yuan to the wife for undertaking a bigger share of the household work. The couple got married in 2015 and the husband filed for divorce last year.
The court decision is based on a recently enacted civil code under which spouses can seek compensation during divorce if they perform the larger portion of household work such as raising children, caring for elderly family members etc. Previously, the law only allowed spouses to seek compensation if a prenuptial agreement was signed between the couple. The presiding judge observed that the division of a couple's joint property after marriage usually entails splitting tangible property. "But housework constitutes intangible property value," said the judge.
The judgment has received mixed feedback. Although some see it as a recognition of women's unpaid labour in the house, others have raised concerns that the amount of compensation undervalues the economic cost of such labour. In China, where women spend 2.5 times more time in household work than men, this recognition is a significant legislative change. However, 50,000 yuan for five years of unpaid labour has been said to be rather inadequate.
Compiled by Law Desk (Source: bbc.com)