A move to institutionalize or revise laws to attach an economic value to housework done by a full-time homemaker has recently gained steam in the Korean society. Rep. Lee Kei Kyung of the Grand National Party(GNP), a woman activist-turned lawmaker, introduced an income tax revision bill on May 18 which demanded an economic value be given to housework so that it would be part of income deduction at a year-end settlement.
According to the bill, a basic deduction of a spouse whose income is zero or less than one million won a year should be raised from current one million to 12 million won at a year-end settlement.
Opponents in the government, however, do not agree with this idea although they have a shared appreciation of the value of housework. An official at the Ministry of Finance and Economy said, “The bill might hurt equity in terms of a tax burden between working housewives and full-time homemakers. Deduction of salaries for housemaids, however, is realistically possible.”
Some are worried that there would be a decrease of about 3 trillion won in the government's tax revenues. A discrimination research society comprised of experts of women's studies and sociologists, refute pecuniary valuation of housework.
A recent court decision views housework done by a full-time homemaker not as manual labor but as a special behavior of labor that requires expertise and skills.