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KPMG recommends super changes

KPMG says SG contributions should be included in the Commonwealth Paid Parental Scheme, among three recommendations to level the gender gap in the workforce.

Its recently published paper Towards a more equal sharing of work says since the 1970s, the increase in women's workforce participation has been almost entirely in part-time work.

The gap between male and female workforce participation rates in Australia is 10%. This makes it the 16th highest in OECD countries.

KPMG said the interplay of childcare and tax and transfer systems are creating a barrier to women returning to the workforce, and possibly, gender financial inequality.

Its three recommendations include: including SG contributions in the Commonwealth Paid Parental Scheme and allowing unused concessional contributions to be made for recipients of Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave without time limit.

It also wants the Sex Discrimination Act to be amended to allow willing employers to make higher superannuation payments for female employees. Rice Warner, which is now owned by Deloitte, implemented this for its staff after getting an exemption on the Act.

KPMG national sector lead for asset and wealth management Linda Elkins said the exclusion of SG from Paid Parental Leave exacerbates the gap between men and women, as women are often using the leave.

"While KPMG has recently proposed a major overhaul to the PPL scheme, the Super Guarantee issue still needs to be addressed even if the current system is maintained. There will be a significant cost but this is a major impediment to equality," KPMG said.

"Second, concessional contributions made by employers to employees can be used for up to five years but this then runs out, which disadvantages women who have taken time out to raise children. There is no good policy reason why this cannot be changed.

"Third, employers might wish to make higher contributions to attract and reward talented female employees who have taken time out, but this would be in contravention of the Sex Discrimination Act. The Act could be amended at no cost, but with significant benefit."

Read more: KPMG