Spain: Children 'must do housework' under draft law

Children ironing

Spanish children may soon be required to help out with housework, under a draft law that has been approved by parliament.

The measure, which would be part of a wider child protection law, says that children under the age of 18 have an obligation to participate in all areas of family life. That includes "co-responsibility in caring for the home and performing household tasks regardless of age and gender", the ABC newspaper says. The rules come under a section of the law called "the rights and duties of children".

Along with doing chores, children would also have to be respectful to their parents and teachers, and have a positive attitude towards learning. But the bill doesn't say anything about penalties for children who refuse to go along, the Local website reports. Other elements of the bill would see the establishment of a list of people who are banned from working with children, and it would become a crime for people who work with children to fail to report possible abuses against them.

Married Spanish men can also face legal sanctions for refusing to do housework - an update in 2005 to the marriage contract used for the country's civil ceremonies added a clause requiring men to share in household duties, and the care of children and elderly relatives.

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