Change legislation to boost women’s super, says ASFA
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has called for anti-discrimination laws to be changed so that employers can pay a higher rate of super to female employees.
In addition, ASFA has called for the removal of the $450 per month threshold for the super guarantee (SG) and for the SG to be applied to all substantive income payments, including paid parental leave, as part of a three-step policy agenda aimed at reducing the superannuation gender gap.
Currently, around 250,000 Australians miss out on around $75 million in superannuation due to the SG threshold, according to ASFA, particularly women who tend to work in casual or part-time jobs, often for more than one employer at a time.
ASFA said its removal will provide a substantial boost to the retirement savings of women.
The association also argued that applying the SG to all substantive income replacement payments, including paid parental leave, could add thousands of dollars to the super accounts of women.
“Even just six months of SG applied to the paid parental leave of a 35-year-old woman earning $50,000 could add an extra $10,000 to her final super balance,” said ASFA.
The association has also addressed the need for the Anti-Discrimination Act to be amended in order to allow employers to pay their female employees more superannuation without being in breach of the legislation.
ASFA chief executive Pauline Vamos said women currently retire with around half as much as men in their superannuation account, leaving them drastically short of the savings required to live a comfortable retirement.
“Many women face challenges when it comes to accumulating adequate retirement savings: they are often in lower paid jobs, or work casually or part time, and they often take more time out of the workforce than men to look after children or family members,” said Ms Vamos.
“This makes it hard for them to build up the savings required to live with comfort and dignity in retirement."
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.