Bridging the gender wage divide
Queensland women are retiring with just one-third of the superannuation balance of their male colleagues, according to the latest Queensland Women Report released by the state government.
The report also found that the gender pay gap is higher than it was two decades ago despite attempts to bridge the divide and the fact that women are now more likely than men to hold a tertiary qualification.
State Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman said, “…women in Queensland are getting paid less, retiring with far less super and are far more likely to experience violence, poverty or homelessness.”
“Bright and talented Queensland girls are getting a good education, but the minute they step into the workforce they are behind from the start. Women earn an average of 82 per cent of a male wage and that simply isn’t good enough,” Ms Fentiman said.
Women with a superannuation balance were likely to have a lower sum than their male counterparts. The median super balance for Queensland women aged between 45 and 69 is $39,944 compared to $69,233 for men in the same age group. The gap increased with age.
Successful campaigns by our members have achieved additional employer contributions through employee co-contributions in Queensland Anglican, Catholic and Lutheran sectors.
When employees co-contribute five per cent to their super in these sectors, employers co-contribute an additional 3.25 per cent making the total employer contribution 12.75 per cent.
Women are also far more likely to be employed part-time with 44.3 per cent of women aged 15 or older currently working part-time. More than 40 per cent of working Queensland mothers adopt flexible working hours, while just five per cent of fathers employ the same flexi-work arrangements.
The report states, “Compared with men and women who remain in employment, women who exit the labour force for a period of time may experience disrupted skill acquisition, fewer training opportunities, skill depreciation and reduced work experience, all of which reduce opportunities for promotion and higher earnings.”
According to the report, “As at November 2014, Queensland female adult employees working full-time ordinary hours earned an average of $1257.50 per week, while male adults earned an average of $1581 per week.”
“That is, on average, every week Queensland women earn $323.50 ...less than men.
“This 18 per cent gender pay gap means that, on average, for every dollar earned by a full time make employee, a full-time female employee earns 79.5 cents.”
This is an increase from the 14.8 per cent gender pay gap observed in 2007.
Queensland women aged 65-69 or 70 and older are the groups most likely to have no superannuation coverage, with 61.8 per cent in that age group likely to have no superannuation, compared to 43.8 per cent of same-aged men.
Bridging the gap
While the report easily surmises the range of wage and superannuation inequities faced by women, effectively reducing this inequity is not so easily achieved.
Quality paid parental leave and flexible working arrangement provisions provide a starting point to support women who are taking time out of the workforce. Our union has initiated collective bargaining claims for employer contributions to continue during parental leave up to the end of the first year.
Our union will also provide a significant professional development opportunity for our women members in 2016. The IEUA-QNT Women’s Professional Development Day is scheduled to be held on 12 March 2016 and will feature a range of sessions on issues related to workplace equity and professional issues of significance to women.
Further information about the professional development day will be announced soon; any interim enquires can be forwarded to Adele at firstname.lastname@example.org