Six-year-old Leo completes a homeschool activity suggested by the online learning website of his school, as his mother Moira, an employee of a regional council, works from home in the village of Marsden, northern England on May 15 2020. Picture: AFP/OLI SCARFF
Six-year-old Leo completes a homeschool activity suggested by the online learning website of his school, as his mother Moira, an employee of a regional council, works from home in the village of Marsden, northern England on May 15 2020. Picture: AFP/OLI SCARFF

London — Working parents are taking on an additional 28 hours a week of household chores and child care during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent survey, with women taking on a disproportionate share.

Mothers already did a majority of such work in two-career households: 35 hours a week before the pandemic, compared with 25 hours a week by fathers. Since schools, day cares and most workplaces have closed to limit contagion, the disparity has grown. Women now report spending a total of 65 hours per week on housework and child care; men report a total of 50.

The survey of 3,055 working parents in the US, the UK, Germany, Italy and France was conducted by Boston Consulting Group from March 20 through April 3. It excluded working parents who are furloughed.

Germany was the only country surveyed where men reported adding more hours of housework during the pandemic than women added. However, mothers there still do 31% more of the housework in two-career families. Before the pandemic, fathers were lagging further behind in Germany than in many nations.

Boston Consulting Group concluded from its survey that the additional burden being placed on mothers creates a challenge for employers, not only in short-term productivity but also in representation and advancement for women if demands on their time exceed those for men.

Almost half of the parents surveyed said their ability to perform at work had decreased because of additional responsibilities at home, and over a third were concerned about their performance reviews. Most respondents said they were worried about their physical and mental wellbeing.

Bloomberg