Federal Government must boost the superannuation accounts of low income earners'



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The Women in Super (WIS) Make Super Fair campaign has called for the Federal Government to act on the crisis of retirement outcomes for women. 

This includes boosting the superannuation accounts of low income earners with an annual $1,000 contribution to help address the growing number of retired women living in poverty. 

They have put forward the Women in Super’s policy proposal to improve women’s retirement outcomes. 

This includes the following focused policy measures: 

  • Annual $1,000 super contribution to provide a fair share of support for low income earners, up to a super balance of $100,000
  • No further delay in increasing super contributions to 12 per cent
  • 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 the Government to undertake and publish a gender impact statement for any changes to age pension or retirement income policy; ongoing tracking of women’s retirement gap by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. 

What is the gender super gap? 

Did you know women currently retire with an average of 47 per cent, or $85,000, less super than men? More than 40 per cent of single women live in poverty, and the fastest growing cohort of homeless people is older single women. Women are also more dependent on the Age Pension than men because of this. 

According to a July report by The Australian Services Union, there are three reasons that Australia’s compulsory superannuation system is “failing women”: 

  • The motherhood gap – women are more likely to take on a caretaker role and take time out of work to support family members (children, elderly relatives, sick family) than fathers or men without children.
  • Part time work – a greater proportion of women work part-time than men, usually influenced by the higher likelihood of women taking on the caretaker role.
  • The gender pay gap – the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings (currently at 16 per cent). 

WIS National chair, Cate Wood, said at the launch of the campaign that the crisis in retirement outcomes for women “warranted an urgent rethink of how the superannuation system can better deliver for half of the population”. 

“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. 

“Structural inequity requires structural solutions and all elements of the package are required,” said Ms Wood.

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