Super funds call for SG increase to aid women

AustralianSuper and Human Super support a mandatory increase to the superannuation guarantee for women in a bid to close the superannuation gap.

Both super funds are lobbying for a mandatory 12% SG contribution, stating the 2.5% increase would make a significant difference come retirement.

In a note to its female members on International Women's Day, AustralianSuper said: "Average lower earnings, time out from the workforce, and longer life expectancy, are just some of the reasons women are on the back foot when it comes to super."

Likewise, Human Super is lobbying for a "gender-based superannuation top-up", where women earning a salary contribute 12% to super.

If this isn't possible as a result of the gender pay gap or the type of work women perform, the super fund proposes the Federal Government contribute the additional 2.5% on a woman's behalf.

Human Super chief executive Pascale Helyar-Moray said the move would help in diminishing the number of women ending up homeless in older age.

As a shorter-term strategy, the super fund is also proposing a Housing Crisis Relief Fund be established for women aged 55 and over that are either already living rough or facing the prospect in the near future.

"Similar to the Flood Levy authorised in 2011, the fund's monies will be raised by government, private sector and tax payers, with a levy on high earners," Human Super said in its submission to the Select Committee on the Future of Work and Workers.

Human Super said the modern workforce is now characterised by flexible and remote working, which is diametrically opposed to the existing super system.

Helyar-Moray said a great disservice was done to the women of Australia who act as carers, either to children or older generations when creating the SG system in 1992.

"The superannuation system failed to take this kind of worker into account when created, with the result that we have a growing homelessness crisis. With the nature of work shifting towards an ever more flexible environment, we predict this impact on women will be accelerated, and the strain on welfare greatly increased," she said.

The modern workforce - characterised by flexible and remote working - is diametrically opposed to the existing superannuation system which is largely paper-based, complex, and disengaged from its members.

Human Super is yet to launch its offering and does not currently provide any financial products.

Read more: Human SupersuperannuationAustraliaAustralianSuperFederal GovernmentFlood LevyFuture of WorkPascale Helyar-MorayInternational Women's Day
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