Women deserve equal footing in retirement and paid super on parental leave would help make that happen.
Yet the Morrison Government is refusing to legislate super for parental leave, says ACTU President Michele O’Neil. Superannuation remains the only form of leave upon which super is not paid.
“Women are retiring with half the amount of super as men, and while the Morrison Government should be closing the retirement gap instead they have chosen to stand in the way of progress,” she says.
The superannuation gap
Women currently retire with an average of 47% less super than men. For the average super fund, that is an $85,000 difference.
Although parental leave is gender neutral, it is still overwhelmingly working mums who take the leave. They are the ones who then are missing out on essential super contributions.
Superannuation is not paid on Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave, an exclusion which sees working women worse off in retirement.
Parental Leave offered by employers is also the only form of paid leave employers don’t have to pay superannuation on. Unless workers with their unions win a clause in bargaining to require employers to pay super on parental leave, bosses don’t have to.
Many women take long periods of unpaid leave for caring responsibilities. Morrison’s refusal to sufficiently support this decision has exacerbated the gendered retirement gap.
Women are much more likely to take career breaks to care for children, which is why Australian Unions call for super to be paid on all parental leave – paid and unpaid.
Super is paid as a percentage of your income and the gender pay gap contributes to about 70% of the difference in women’s superannuation balances at retirement.
With the Government missing on equal pay for women and secure work, it’s hardly surprising we have working women retiring into poverty and homelessness.
The lack of a super guarantee for parental leave only worsens the problem. Unless we tackle the super gap, it is estimated to last until at least 2061.
Morrison walks away from working women
The Morrison Government has rejected calls to see that would have seen superannuation as a guaranteed addition to Commonwealth Paid Parental leave.
That’s a $14,000 opportunity gone for working women – a figure that represents how much a mother of two would be better off in retirement savings if the superannuation guarantee was paid on Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave.
Ms O’Neil is tired of Morrison’s hypocrisy when it comes to improving conditions for the women workforce.
The Morrison Government has had plenty of press conferences pledging their support for women and shows yet again just how little the promises of the Prime Minister makes actually mean.
We already have paid super on other types of leave, so why is the Morrison Government missing in action?
Unions make progress for working mums
“The Government rejecting the policy to pay superannuation on this right is hurting working women,” Ms O’Neil says.
“Working women will not forget that this election.”
Mums at work shouldn’t have to worry about worse off retirement savings if they choose to have a child. Union members have understood this for more than 50 years.
Since achieving maternity leave in 1971, union members have continued to campaign for better leave entitlements for working women.
The good news? The gender pay gap, and the gender superannuation gap, is much lower for women who are union members.
We’ve had decades of wins and we’re not stopping anytime soon.