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Union calls for subsidized home help

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14:18 CEST+02:00
The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees (TCO) has called for the introduction of subsidized household services for families with children. The only path to equality, TCO argues.

TCO has suggested a 90 percent subsidy which would give families with children two-three hours of household services such as cleaning and childcare for 150 kronor ($23) per week.

Despite a series of reforms designed to address a lack of equality in the home the division of labour within household work remains unequal, TCO's Ulrika Hagström and Kerstin Olsson write in a full page opinion article in Dagens Nyheter.

TCO is working to renew its equality program and the division of labour in the home is high on its list of prioritized areas.

"We thought that, when women went out to the workplace, then the division of work in the home would also automatically change. That has not been the case. Women became economically independent but at the same time double-working, with many negative consequences."

They argue that moralizing class arguments can be put aside and point to the socio-economic costs of the current situation as motivation to act and introduce the subsidy.

"The weaker position of women in the workplace, with regard to her pay, health and pension is a collective and general problem. A social contribution to remove the unpaid work from women would make her free to make her own decisions."

Hagström and Olsson write that the proposal would also address the widespread problem of companies and staff in the service working on the black.

"Of course jobs, in whatever sector, should be legitimate, tax-paying and subject to collective agreements. Furthermore household services for families with children are neither better nor worse than those within the home-help service."

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