Early access raid most likely to hurt women

The recent “raid” on super through the early access scheme is likely to disadvantage women more than anyone else, as women will take time away from the workforce and be unable to replenish their accounts as quickly. 

Speaking at the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Emergency Superannuation Summit, Emma Dawson, Per Capita executive director, said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, the super savings gap between men and women aged between 25 and 34 was about 23%. 

“After the withdrawal scheme, we know that women have been more likely to wipe it out entirely than men,” Dawson said. 

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“That savings gap we now estimate at being 45%, which is the same as we found for baby boomer women retiring today at 47%. 

“So the benefit for millennial women who are going into those child-bearing years without that money saved in their account, they’ve wiped that out so it won’t be doing that hard work of gathering interest for them while they’re out of the workforce to raise children.” 

It was expected that this would affect between 250,000-300,000 millennial aged women. 

“These different forms of attack are ideological on purpose, there is a mindset that says if you’re a working person, then you can expect nothing better than what we choose to give you on the Age Pension,” Dawson said. 

Michele O’Neil, ACTU president, said women’s lower super balances were no accident and more needed to be done to address the gap in super savings. 

“There are things we can do and must do to improve super; most women don’t get paid super when they’re on maternity leave,” O’Neil said. 

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