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Unions call for action on women's retirement pay gap27 July 2011
Women’s retirement pay gap is a national disgrace: unions call for action on inequality in superannuation
Women workers earn on average 17% less than men but this pay gap is much worse in retirement with women forced to make do with 30% less superannuation than men.
ACTU President Ged Kearney today called for urgent action to address the adequacy of superannuation for working women and challenged the Federal Opposition to support increasing the national minimum superannuation from 9% to 12%.
Speaking at a forum on the superannuation needs of women in Melbourne today, ACTU President Ged Kearney said: "Women live much longer than men and yet their superannuation balances are on average 30 percent lower than men's.
"This is a serious challenge to the financial independence of women in retirement. It is a national disgrace that after a lifetime of work women are forced to live on so much less than men.
"The Federal Government's plan to introduce legislation later this year to lift national superannuation to 12% and cut taxes on super contributions will be two important steps towards giving women greater financial security in retirement.
"Lifting the national Superannuation Guarantee from the current 9% to 12 % means the average 30-year-old woman would retire with $108,000 more superannuation. This equates to an extra $3000 a year in retirement.
"In addition, up to 2 million Australian women stand to benefit from the Government's plan to cut taxes for workers contributing to superannuation. The Government's reforms will be funded by the Minerals Rent Resource Tax, meaning the nation's resources wealth will help pay for a better retirement for working women.
"But these worthwhile reforms are at risk because of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's blanket refusal to tax the big mining companies. To address the gender retirement pay gap unions are also campaigning for women to be paid superannuation while they are on parental leave.
"It is time Mr Abbott tells Australian women just where he stands on improving their retirement savings and whether he will support these improvements to superannuation."