North Tasmanian women have almost 40% less super than men, and if the government does not act a generation of local women could be at risk of retiring into poverty.
North Tasmanian women on the cusp of retirement have a median super balance of just $122,900 – below the $168,500 median male balance. Both men and women have far less than the $545,000 recommended for a comfortable retirement.
These stark figures highlight the need to lift the super rate as legislated from 9.5% to 12%. Women on middle to low-income are the most likely to get the legislated super boost, lifting the rate will give them the retirement of their choosing and not one just scrapping by.
A 30-year-old woman on the median wage could have up to $85,000 less at retirement if the super rate is cut, which could cause a generation of women in Tasmania’s north to suffer further economic insecurity.
Women of all ages in the Bass electorate have less super than men but the gender gap starts to open once women hit their 30s, when many women take time out of the paid workforce to raise children. The gender gap widens to a gaping hole once women are in their early 50s when median balances are 45% less than men.
While the gender super gap widens the government has been dragging its feet on important reforms which will improve north Tasmanian women’s retirement outcomes including:
· Paying super on every dollar earned, including Commonwealth paid parental leave;
· Abolishing the $450 threshold where super is not paid unless you earn more than that a month, this greatly impacts women as they are more likely to have multiple part-time jobs;
· Failing to enact super splitting legislation, this streamlines the process of dividing super assets when a relationship ends and allows more women to get their fair share.
A recent retirement survey, commissioned by ISA, found that on average women spend 12 years less in the full-time workforce than men, this time away from work is having a dramatic impact on their super balance.
One in three women retire with no super balance at all, according to a 2016 Senate report.
Despite the importance of lifting super to improve women’s retirement outcomes the government has said it is considering cutting super at 9.5%, even as government MPs – like Bridget Archer – pocket more than 15% super on top of their parliamentary wages.