Closing gender pay gap won’t close superannuation gap, ISA finds

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Closing the gender pay gap won’t close the superannuation gender gap, an analysis of ABS data by Industry Super Australia has found.

“Even if we close the gender pay gap, workforce spells and lost compound returns will see women continuing to retire with much less super than me,” said Industry Super Australia.

Comparing all workers of the same age and income, the analysis finds the superannuation gender gap starts at 14.6% at ages 25-34 and peaks just before retirement, at 47.4% for the 55-64 age range.

To address this Industry Super Australia is calling for superannuation to be paid on parental leave and for the $450 threshold for Super Guarantee be scrapped.

“While a woman might return to a good salary after time out to care for a child or an ageing parent, she will have little chance of ever making up the super shortfall,” said Industry Super head of consumer advocacy, Sarah Saunders.

“That women today face thirty years in retirement with half as much super as men – because the system doesn’t put an economic value on unpaid care – is unacceptable.”

“Business and government policy must better reflect how women transition in and out of paid employment. Examples include flexible working hours, more accessible childcare, and super on parental leave and casual or part time work.”

“The super shortfall highlights the importance of ensuring that the Age Pension safety net keeps pace with living standards by continuing to link it to wages rather than CPI.”

The “first of its kind” analysis was conducted by Industry Super Australia special adviser, and former Treasury retirement modelling head, Phil Gallagher, based on ABS data.

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