Australia urged to address pensions gender gap
The Australian government has been urged to address the nation’s pensions gender gap in its upcoming federal budget.
It needs to make swift reforms to an industry that currently leaves retired Australian women with typically 23.1% less in their pension accounts than men, according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).
Pension payments should be made to workers on paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child, it said, reports Bloomberg. ASFA also recommended a A$5,000 (US$3,109) bonus either in addition to the payments or as an alternative.
“Rising inflation, broken work patterns, COVID-19, and the early release of superannuation have all eroded the retirement savings of low-income earners and women in particular,” said Martin Fahy, ASFA’s Chief Executive Officer.
In Australia, pension payments are not mandatory for paid maternal or paternal leave, although a number of firms do pay employees who have taken time off to have children. Women are also more disadvantaged because they are more likely to take the leave than men, according to recent research from pension fund AustralianSuper Pty.
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ASFA estimates that adding pension payments to parental leave would likely incur a net cost for the government of around A$200 million (US$124 million) a year, and additional annual costs for employers of around A$30 million (US$18.7 million).