For some of us, retirement may seem like a lifetime away – it isn’t. Years melt away in the blink of an eye, and if that eye isn’t on focussed on your future, you could be left with very little superannuation to support yourself. Unfortunately, it’s not just poor planning that might leave women struggling.
Systemic failures in our current superannuation system, and a lethargic approach to addressing the disparity in superannuation earning power between men and women, caused by the gender pay gap and women bearing the brunt of unpaid caring responsibilities, means that Australia is reaching crisis point with many women retiring into poverty.
Speaking at the launch of the new Women in Super (WIS) Make Super Fair campaign, National Chair Cate Wood said the crisis in retirement outcomes for women warranted an urgent rethink of how the superannuation system can better deliver for half of the population.
“When around 40% of older single retired women live in poverty, we need to stop and say enough is enough,” Ms Wood said. “We must do better than a system that sees women retiring with 47% less than men. This is a crisis and unless we act now we will be leaving a tragic legacy for younger women. It is not fair or reasonable to simply tell women to fix the problem themselves. We need to get the basics right”
WIS calls for the immediate implementation of the following focused policy measures that will change the superannuation system so that it delivers better outcomes for women and low income earners:
- Annual $1000 super contribution to provide a fair share of support for low income earners, up to a super balance of $100,0001
- No further delay in increasing super contributions to 12%
- Pay super on Paid Parental Leave
- Remove the $450 monthly income threshold on super contributions which sees over 220,000 women per year miss out on super contributions
- Require Government to undertake and publish a gender impact statement for any changes to age pension or retirement income policy; ongoing tracking by WGEA of women’s retirement gap.
Ms Wood said that structural inequity requires structural solutions and all elements of the package are required.
37 FlexCareers employer partners are WGEA Pay Equity Ambassadors, and more than 50 have publicly pledged to achieve equal pay for men and women across their organisations. Superannuation policies to better protect the financial futures of women are an integral part of achieving gender equity when it comes to pay, and some of our employer partners are already paying superannuation on paid and unpaid parental leave. Viva Energy, in particular, is trailblazing ahead – already paying 12% superannuation and paying primary carers of children superannuation at their full-time salary benefit throughout parental leave and for up to 5 years whist working part-time to bring up young children.
You can search for flexible jobs with our network of employers that support women’s careers, including those already paying above statutory superannuation payments, here: www.flexcareers.com.au
About Women In Super
Women in Super is a national advocacy and networking group for women employed in the superannuation and wider financial services industries, and advocates on behalf of its members and women generally to improve women’s retirement prospects and access to superannuation.
More about Superannuation & The Gender Pay Gap
For more articles on superannuation and the gender pay gap click here.