The 2-page handout

The reading

Working families in two towns in Germany will get government help with the housework. The towns are in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The government decided to test a new project to help people, especially women, who work overtime. The plan is to give vouchers to employees who work extra hours. The employees can use the vouchers to get help with the housework, such as cleaning, laundry, ironing, vacuuming and dusting. The idea behind the project is to help support family life and to reduce the shadow economy. The shadow economy is when people pay for goods and services in cash but do not pay tax on them. This means the government loses a lot of money.

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Government spokesman Christian Rauch explained more about the project. He said: "Our experience shows that well-qualified women work fewer hours than they would like because they want to carry out household duties in addition to family responsibilities. If these women increase their working hours by five to ten hours and receive a voucher from us, they can afford quality help with the housework." He added that the new system would also create more jobs for people in the household-help industry and create more tax for the government. Another spokesman, Dr. Ralf Kleindiek, said: "With professional help in the home, it is easier to balance work and family life."



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