Gender disparity results in women retiring with less super

Published 12 Mar 2019

A retirement nest egg, superannuation was implemented to assist all Australians in achieving a sustainable stream of income for their golden years. This money is set aside by an employer over your working years at a minimum rate of 9.5 per cent. The amount of super you have in your fund come retirement depends how much you have earned during your working life, which can be seen as unfair when you consider the gender pay gap.

What does the gender pay gap mean for superannuation contributions?

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (AFSA) recommends that a single person should retire with a superannuation balance of $545,000 for a comfortable retirement, while a couple need to have $640,000. This estimate is based on medical expenses that come with growing older, as well as community care services.

On average, women are retiring with around 47 per cent less superannuation than men, according to Australian Unions.

Men in full-time work earn on average around $25,000 more than women per year, based on data collected from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). There are a number of reasons for this gap, including hiring bias and female-centric industries attracting lower salaries. Furthermore, many women adopt the role as primary caregiver for their children, and need to take time away from work to look after the family unit. As women are being paid less over time, employer super contributions are smaller, leaving them with less income for retirement despite being known to have longer lifespans.

What measures are being taken to close the superannuation gap?

While the national gender pay gap is at a record low of 14.1 per cent, according to the WGEA, there is still action that can be taken to ensure that women retire with a feasible amount of super.

Many workers rights groups, such as Australian Unions, are campaigning for government intervention in closing the gender super gap. Female super may increase if superannuation is paid on parental or maternity leave, as is protocol with other forms of leave, or by allowing those who earn lower than $450 per month to get super contributions.

If you have reason to believe your employer is avoiding or paying insufficient super into your fund, get in touch with the professionals. At Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers we are equipped with the expertise to fight for your case, and offer a 90-day complimentary trial of legal services.

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