Retirement less than super for most women

10 April 2012 | Carlie Gibson, The Australian, page 21
Last week’s ground-breaking announcement by actuarial consultants Rice Warner that they would like to pay female staff a higher super contribution than men is a recognition that although women live longer than men, they tend to have half as much super when they retire.
Women need to be engaged in their financial future at that critical point before they start a family, according to Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick. She wants to see more women in paid work, greater sharing of unpaid work, workplaces that fit around families and a superannuation system that is not strictly linked to paid work. She says the government’s decision not to put a superannuation layer on the Paid Parental Leave Scheme when it was introduced was a missed opportunity. “That was important for a couple of reasons,” Broderick says. “One is that when women were off on paid parental leave that they wouldn’t be disadvantaged by having no money going into super for that period . . . but the other thing is I think it’s highly symbolic and it says actually women will be disadvantaged in retirement because of caring responsibilities.” Andrea Slattery, chief executive of Self-Managed Super Fund Professionals Association of Australia, agrees. “One way of addressing the gender imbalance in retirement savings is to introduce opportunities for both compulsory and voluntary contribution catch-ups for women when they take maternity leave to ensure they do not miss out,” Slattery says

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