Rest, one of Australia’s largest profit-to-member superannuation funds, has called for both major parties to commit to improving equity in retirement outcomes by including Superannuation Guarantee contributions on the Commonwealth Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay schemes.
“Rest represents more than one million Australian women, many of whom work in low-income part-time or casual jobs, and approach retirement with modest account balances,” said Vicki Doyle, CEO of Rest.
“Like countless Australian women, our female members also approach retirement with significantly less in their account compared to men.
“This is plainly unfair and, when combined with low levels of financial security, can have profound impact on retirement outcomes.
“We should be seizing every opportunity to address this gender gap. Extending the Superannuation Guarantee to the Commonwealth paid parental leave schemes will help make the system fairer and more equitable.
“Australian women, especially those in low-paid jobs, shouldn’t have to wait any longer for greater equity.
“We urge the Federal Government to announce this measure in next week’s 2022/23 Federal Budget, and encourage both major parties to commit to this change ahead of the upcoming Federal election.”
The average female Rest member aged 60 to 64 has an account balance of around $90,000, while the average balance for men in the same age band is $123,000.1
This represents a gender super gap of 26 per cent.
Rest is also encouraging employers to adopt gender-neutral paid parental leave arrangements and include superannuation contributions.
In 2021, Rest increased the duration of its paid parental leave from 14 weeks to 16 weeks and made it available to all eligible employees, removing references to gender and primary or secondary carer status. Superannuation Guarantee contributions have been paid to employees during both paid and unpaid parental leave since 2016.
“Any steps that remove barriers to women’s workforce participation and make it easier for parents to share caring responsibilities, can have a positive impact on retirement outcomes,” says Ms Doyle.
1 Rest member data as at 31 December 2021