One major bank has announced it will top up the superannuation payments of some female employees and is offering free super advice to women with low superannuation balances.
ANZ announced the changes yesterday. They include superannuation contributions on paid and unpaid parental leave for up to 24 months, up from 12 months, for Australia-based employees on their return to work, and top-up payments of $500 per annum for ANZ’s permanent and fixed-term female employees in Australia.
The bank is also offering free superannuation advice for customers with less than $50,000 in superannuation and introducing specialist financial planners trained in the needs and preferences of women.
ANZ's chief executive of global wealth, Joyce Phillips, said despite women playing a critical role in global economies, a research report conducted by ANZ shows women can still earn 36 per cent less than men and retire with around half the superannuation.
“Over time, we believe these new measures will help improve the financial security of women at ANZ by directly targeting the areas of advice, superannuation and financial education,” said Ms Phillips.
According to AIST chief executive Tom Garcia, the first thing that needs to be done to address the super gender gap is to create a fairer super taxation system.
"The reality is the system as it stands currently is stacked in favour of high-income earning, well-off males,” said Mr Garcia.
Women in Super chair Cate Wood said it is ironic that the only superannuation taxation change supported by the government is one to increase the tax paid by low-income earners due to the low-income super contribution (LISC) being withdrawn.
Ms Wood said that 3.6 million working Australians, 2.1 million of whom are women, currently benefit from the scheme, which is set to be dropped in 2017.
“Despite more than 20 years of compulsory super, we’re still seeing women retiring with just over half the savings of men,” said Ms Wood.
“There is no silver bullet; this is a complex and multi-layered problem which needs a collaborative, bipartisan effort to address it.”
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