Portugal and China oblige men to pay.

Dr. S-W – 03/2021

The Portuguese Supreme Court confirmed on the 14th January the obligation of a man to pay around 60,000 euros for the unpaid domestic work undertaken by his former partner. It covered a period of about 30 years of apparently childless cohabitation. The exclusive or predominant undertaking of household chores relieved and enriched one partner, whereas the other partner became impoverished. Originally, the female partner had demanded 240,000 euros, but this amount had already been reduced by the lower court. The court took the national minimum wage as a basis for calculating the amount of compensation, but reduced it by one third because the partner had also benefited.

A very similar decision was also made by a Chinese divorce court, but following a failed marriage. The court awarded the woman the equivalent of 6,400 euros for 5 years of marriage for childcare and housework carried out in addition to the alimony payments that also have to be made. At the same time, Chinese civil law was amended at the beginning of the year. According to this, in the event of divorce, the partner who has taken on more domestic duties can claim compensation from the other partner.

Even if the rulings or legal amendments only affect the two countries mentioned, they are nevertheless milestones on the way to a so-called "housewife's wage", which has also been demanded in Germany for decades. At last, work that has so far been done mainly by women for free is being “valued”. However, this is the same as "commercialisation" in less fancy terms. This raises a few questions that have not even begun to be resolved. Do these housewives' wages have to be taxed? And have social security contributions been paid on this? And is the partner's waiver of this wage a gift that must be reported to the tax authorities and, in principle, be taxed as well? Can the housewife's wages be seized? It is not possible to find out more about this at the moment.