Industry Super Australia (ISA) will lobby to get superannuation included on paid parental leave, as 99.5% of recipients of Commonwealth parental leave pay (CPLP) are women who are effectively “penalised” for having children.
Speaking at the Women in Super (WIS) National Roadshow, Georgia Brumby, ISA director of advocacy, said this was a “gettable” key priority and the Federal Government was their first advocacy target.
“There was a lot of speculation in the lead up to this years’ Federal budget that the Government was going to commit to pay super on paid parental leave,” Brumby said.
“It did fall short in the end but we’re really hopeful they have it tucked up their sleeve for a pre-election or election promise.
Brumby said this meant there was an opportunity in the lead up to the federal election to advocate and make the case to the community, as well as the Government.
“As part of that work we’ve gone back and looked at the Federal Government scheme since its inception and there are a few key take outs,” Brumby said.
“Overwhelmingly, it is women who take this up – 99.5% of the recipients are women.
“What’s really critical here – when you look more broadly at how our industrial relations system works – is that parental leave is one of the only forms of paid leave where super isn’t paid.
“It’s paid on annual leave, long service leave… and when you look that’s its 99.5% taken up by women, effectively women are being penalised by having children.”
The CPLP was the only parental leave available to the one-in-two Australians who worked in the non-Government sector.
ISA analysis found paying super on CPLP would mean a mother of two would be $14,000 better off at retirement.
ISA previously found Australian mothers had missed out on $1.6 billion in super payments because of super not being paid on CPLP.
Analysis of median super balances by ISA found women had a third less super ($57,300) at retirement with the gap increasing significantly between 30 to 45 which coincided with childbearing/raising.
The association hoped to drive community sentiment as it found 68% of Australians thought super was already paid on parental leave and 61% thought the Government should change the law to pay super on paid parental leave, even if it was at a cost to the Federal budget.
Cbus found that out of 30 staff members that had taken parental leave in the last 12 months, 60% had been male.
“We have to get the message out to employers across the country that this is a good thing to do in the interest of their employees, but [also] in the interest of their retirement long term,” Steve Bracks, Cbus chair, said.
“If you get the economic setting right then you’re going to see men taking that up and who is the carer can be a choice.”
Gemma Pinnell, ISA director of strategic engagement, said the association had found KPMG, Hesta and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers were leading the way on paid parental programs.
“One of the issues [at Maurice Blackburn] is their new EBA is around paying super on some of the unpaid component on women’s time out of the work force,” Pinnell said.
Pinnell also noted the success of passing legislation to increase spousal super reform, but work in that area would not stop there.
“There’s still much more work to be done in that space to also ensure that women get their fair share of property settlements when a relationship breaks down,” Pinnell said.