Community first

Happy International Women’s Day

15 read min
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International Women’s Day – 8 March – is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and look at the role we can play as individuals and communities to improve conditions for women across the globe.

This year the International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity which asks us to look beyond equality to a world where women are given the support they need to thrive.  

In Australia we have much work to do. Our gender pay gap is 22.8% - women, on average, earn $26,596 less than men each year.1 For every $10 earned by a man, a woman, on average, only earns $7.72.2

This pay gap is further compounded in retirement – women retire with 24% less super than men. And although the super gap is better than it was five years ago, it is still substantial.3

Our super system is tied to paid work. The system inherently disadvantages individuals who take time out to raise a family and who may return to work in a part-time capacity to balance work and family responsibilities. Many of these individuals are female. Additionally, individuals in female-dominated industries receive lower wages on average.

As an industry we know that there needs to be systemic change to make super more equitable for women. Here are some of the measures proposed we think will help make super more equitable.

Paying SG on the government paid parental leave scheme
  • If the government made SG contributions on the paid parental leave scheme that primary carers are entitled to, for example, a woman with two children will be $14,000 better off at retirement.4

     

Paying SG on employer paid parental leave 
  • Where an employer offers paid parental leave to staff, they do not have to pay super on the leave (although they can, and some  employers do).
  • The industry is calling on the government to make it compulsory for parental leave to attract SG in the same way annual and sick leave does.
Super baby bonus
  • A $5000 super baby bonus paid by the government directly into super following the birth or adoption of a child for the child’s primary carer (regardless of gender).
  • For an individual earning $60,000 a year, this equates to SG contributions for a year. This measure could mean an extra $11,000 at retirement.5

Simple steps to help grow your super

Make additional contributions:

According to ASFA, having a family can create a ‘super baby debt’ for mothers of up to $50,000 by the time they reach retirement age. To overcome this, they suggest women adopt the ‘one per cent’ rule by adding an extra one per cent on top of the SG rate to their super for the rest of their working lives.6 If you make additional after-tax contributions7 to your super, you may also be entitled to a government co-contribution.

Bring your super together:

Multiple accounts can mean multiple sets of fees. One super account can save you on fees, insurance premiums and make it easier to manage your super. Find out more about consolidating your super.

Get your partner to help:

If you have a partner, look into contribution splitting or spouse contributions. There may even be some associated tax benefits. Learn more about contributing to super.

 


Footnotes

Workplace Gender Equality Agency

Workplace Gender Equality Agency 

Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) Pre-Budget Submission for the 2022-23 Budget

Industry Super Australia

Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) Pre-Budget Submission for the 2022-23 Budget

Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) Super Guru, Super baby debt

7 Please note there are limits to the amount that you can contribute to your super. Read more about contribution caps.

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