Sector failing to address super gender gap
Major employing authorities in the Queensland non-government education sector are continuing to ignore evidence highlighting the need to address the gender gap when it comes to superannuation for women workers.
A provision to pay the superannuation guarantee rate for those on approved parental leave (for up to one year) was rejected by Anglican employers in their last round of collective bargaining and is currently being rejected by Catholic employers.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said this was a critical claim for members and a significant equity issue for women who spend time out of the workforce due to child rearing responsibilities and who are therefore adversely impacted when it comes to retirement savings.
“Women continue to be placed at significant financial disadvantage when it comes to their superannuation and this needs to be addressed by employers and government,” Mr Burke said.
A report in The Catholic Leader (5 April 2015) noted that on average Australian working women will be in retirement for 14 years longer than men, live five years longer and retire nine years earlier but will have approximately $117,000 less when it comes to their superannuation balance.
The report noted that the continued gender pay gap (women typically earn $13,000 a year less than men) as well as time out of the workforce (due to family responsibilities) were the key factors behind the difference.
Mr Burke said the provisions sought by members in the Catholic and Anglican sectors aimed to directly address this issue.
“Without the recognition of this issue and the implementation of provisions to address the gender gap, women will continue to face an inequitable retirement future,” Mr Burke said.
Mr Burke’s comments came as ANZ launched a new free service for women customers enabling them to access financial advice should their current superannuation savings be less than $50,000, as well as a $500-a-year super payment to its women staff.
“Providing retirement security for all workers is essential – it is time the major employers in our sector show leadership when it comes to providing this to their women workers given their significant contribution to our schools,” Mr Burke said.