Divorced wife gets pay for housework

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 25 Feb 2021

A Chinese man has been ordered to pay his ex-wife almost US$8,000 (HK$62,400) for years of unpaid housework, in a landmark divorce case that has sparked furious debate in the mainland.

Under the new civil code, which came into effect this year, divorcing spouses have the right for the first time to request compensation if they bore more responsibilities at home.

Ex-wife Wang told the Beijing court that during five years of marriage she "looked after the child and managed household chores, while her husband Chen did not care about or participate in any other household affairs besides going to work."

She filed a claim for extra compensation for housework and childcare duties, a court statement said.

The court ruled that Wang had indeed taken on more household responsibilities and should receive 50,000 yuan plus sole child custody and an additional 2,000 yuan in alimony per month. But after local media reported this week that Wang had appealed - having originally requested 160,000 yuan compensation - the ruling sparked widespread online debate over the value of women's unpaid domestic labor.

The hashtag "stay-at-home wife receives 50,000 yuan housework compensation" gained more than 570 million views on Weibo by yesterday.

"Women should never be stay-at-home wives ... when you divorce, you are left with nothing whatsoever. 50,000 yuan in housework compensation is bullshit," read one comment.

"A full-time nanny could cost more than this for half a year, are women's youth and feelings this cheap?" read another.

The amount reflected the length of time the couple were married plus "the effort Wang put into housework, Chen's income and the local cost of living," said one of the judges, reported in media.

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