ECA joins HESTA calls for super to accrue during paid parental leave
Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has joined a chorus of voices from the business, health, aged care and community services sectors, calling for superannuation to be paid on Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave, with new HESTA data revealing the impact this key reform could have on its members’ retirement balances.
The modelling shows that a mother of two, able to accrue super under the suggested changes, could have an additional $14,000 on retirement. For an average early childhood educator, the policy change could mean as much as 4.5 per cent in additional super (based on having three children). This, HESTA said, could be a life-changing amount for women on lower incomes.
More than 80 per cent of those who have their super with HESTA are women, typically in lower to middle income brackets.
“Every extra dollar our members can add to their super can really make a difference when they retire,” HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said.
“Many HESTA members have lower account balances as they often work in casual, part-time or insecure work or in industries that are typically lower paid, like aged care and early childhood education. Achieving adequate super savings is then even harder as they’ll often also need to take long periods of unpaid time out of the workforce to care for others.”
“This policy change will give women’s retirement savings a much-needed boost, helping to close the gender super gap, as women are currently much more likely to be the ones taking parental leave.”
Regardless of gender, 85 per cent of HESTA members surveyed supported paying super on parental leave, increasing to 91 per cent for those under 35.
“Parental leave is the only commonly taken form of paid leave that does not include superannuation, sending a clear message that caring work is undervalued,” Ms Blakey said.
“Our members have told us paying super on paid parental leave is incredibly important to them and that they want to see this long standing inequity changed so our retirement system is fairer for all Australians.”
Samantha Page, ECA CEO said the group supports HESTA’s initiative to improve financial security for parents and caregivers, adding that Australia’s shared economic prosperity will be improved if “we can reduce the ‘motherhood penalty’ currently experienced by women who choose to have children and allow both parents to give babies the priority they need to thrive.”
The organisations standing with HESTA in supporting reform to pay super on paid parental leave can be found at hesta.co/super-paid-parental-leave
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