Women need a better deal, Unions say, highlighting retirement danger for those in ECEC

by Freya Lucas

February 05, 2020

In a submission to the Retirement Income Review Living well after work, the Australian Union movement has called for superannuation to increase to 15 per cent, highlighting that women, especially, need “a better deal” when it comes to funding to support their post work life. 

 

Highly feminised sectors, such as early childhood education and care (ECEC) are especially vulnerable to this shortfall, with 97 per cent of the workforce being female, and with increased attention being placed on addressing the low rates of pay within the sector, which many identify as a core reason for the high staff turnover in this space.

 

The wide-ranging submission makes 23 recommendations to improve retirement outcomes for workers, make the system more equitable and to improve its sustainability and equity. To support the scale-up, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) called for an increase to 12 per cent ‘as soon as possible’, and for a pathway to be legislated for the superannuation guarantee to rise to 15 per cent. 

 

With women, on average, retiring with superannuation balances 47 per cent lower than men, the ACTU called for women to reach 15 per cent “at an accelerated rate” to help address the gender retirement gap. 

 

“Women’s poor retirement balance are the result of compounding issues throughout working life and structures of the system. Women need more super to achieve a dignified and independent retirement,” a spokesperson said. 

 

ACTU Secretary Scott Connolly said “The objective of our retirement income system should be to ensure no Australian retires into poverty. The Superannuation Guarantee must be increased to 15 per cent as soon as possible to ensure a dignified retirement for all workers.”

 

“Our superannuation system is one of the labour movement’s proudest achievements. It is a world class vehicle for workers to retire with dignity, but it is not finished. The superannuation system needs to be strengthened and rebuilt for a modern Australia, and workers’ capital should be used to improve the lives of those working while generating returns for those who are retired,” he added. 

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