Caring and Unpaid Work in Ireland

This report examines Irish data collected over more than a decade to investigate involvement in unpaid work in the areas of childcare, care of older adults or those with a disability, and housework. It also looks at how people’s involvement has changed over time, and how Ireland compares to other EU Member States.

Some of the key findings include:

  • The majority (55%) of those providing unpaid care on a daily basis in Ireland are in employment.
  • Ireland has the third highest weekly hours of unpaid work for both men and women across the EU28. This reflects the relatively low State involvement in support for caring and sees Ireland more in line with Southern and Eastern European Countries, rather than with Scandinavian and Western EU States.
  • There is significant and persistent imbalance in Ireland between men and women when it comes to unpaid work and caring.
  • On average women spend double the time of men on caring and more than twice as much time on housework. A substantial gender gap persists even among men and women doing the same amount of paid work.
  • The gap between women and men’s hours of unpaid work is particularly wide in Ireland.
  • Between 2007 and 2011 the time spent by men on care and housework rose, but this returned to 2007 levels in 2016, suggesting this was a response to the economic shock of the recession rather than an underlying shift in behaviour.
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