Workers call on politicians to stand-up for super & women

Members of Australia’s three largest trade unions, representing more than half a million workers, will converge on Parliament house in Canberra today to push for an acceleration of the planned increase in the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent and urge politicians to address the barriers that result in woman retiring into poverty.

Members of the Australian Services Union (ASU), The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) will lobby the country’s politicians, to take action to address the declining superannuation savings of Australia’s female workers.

The large delegation, which includes retail workers, disability workers, clerical workers, nurses and aged care workers from across the nation call on the Morrison Government to raise the superannuation guarantee to 12% immediately as the impact of the delay has been significant.

They will also highlight the failure of successive Governments to abolish the $450 minimum threshold per month, which sees thousands of the most vulnerable workers miss out on super entirely.

Working women, particularly those on low incomes, are doing it tough with only 53% of the superannuation retirement savings of men, leaving them most vulnerable to poverty and homelessness in retirement.[1]

For women, superannuation is their only hope of a decent and dignified retirement. Now, just one in five Australians with superannuation believes they will be able to live comfortably off their super in retirement.[2]

In light of the announced Income Retirement Review, the delegation is holding urgent meetings with elected representatives in Parliament House today, urging them to represent their constituents by standing-up for super:

  • Protecting the universality of our super system and reject any attempts to make super ‘optional’ for Australian workers;
  • Immediately increasing the Superannuation Contribution Guarantee rate to 12%;
  • Legislating to ensure super is paid on every dollar earned by eliminating the minimum threshold for compulsory employer contributions of $450 per month in earnings, so that every hour worked attracts superannuation; and
  • Closing the retirement gender pay gap and paying a superannuation contribution at the prevailing SGC rate for the government’s paid and unpaid parental leave.
  • The superannuation system was established to provide a safety net for working people in retirement and it must be protected and improved. Any attempts by politicians to make super optional will undermine the viability of the whole system and force retirees into poverty.

ANMF Assistant Federal Secretary Lori-Anne Sharp:

“The Morrison Government’s recent announcement to review retirement income of Australians must result in addressing the disparity in superannuation outcomes for women.

“The Australian nursing and midwifery workforces comprise 89 per cent women, who on average retire with 40 percent less superannuation than men, even in female dominated professions.

“We need reform that addresses the current gender pay gap, prioritises an increase to the superannuation guarantee to 12% and include the superannuation guarantee in the commonwealth parental leave scheme so that women are not penalised for taking time to raise their families.

“It’s also time to remove the exemption that allows employers to avoid paying super to employees who earn less than $450 per month. Aged care workers who may work for multiple employers within a month but earn less than $450 in each role are currently paid no superannuation. Woman are over represented in part-time and casual positions in the workforce, this $450 exemption to the superannuation guarantee disproportionately affects women.

“Every Australian deserves a secure retirement and comfortable standard of living. The answer is not to make superannuation optional for low income earners as has been suggested by some Liberal Senators recently. The answer is to keep to the legislated plan to increase the super guarantee to 12% and urgently address the barriers that woman face when saving for retirement.”

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