Australia’s cumulative retirement system means women continue to retire with roughly half the superannuation of men, with the overall gender difference in superannuation balances standing at 38.8%.
The superannuation gap is the result of inequity between women and men in paid and unpaid work. Women are far more likely to take responsibility of unpaid care work, work part-time, work in lower paid roles and have fragmented work histories.
To address the persistent gender imbalance in superannuation, WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation holders continue to implement innovative programs to bridge the gap.
Superannuation on Parental Leave
As the superannuation system is tied to paid work and women are often the primary parental leave takers, numerous EOCGE organisations offer superannuation contributions to employees on parental leave.
The differences across the superannuation initiatives prove that one size does not fit all. Each citation holder has created a program that benefits women’s retirement savings.
Here are some examples:
- Dexus, a two year citation holder, pays superannuation on both government and employer funded carers leave, which totals 30 weeks.
- HSBC, a nine year citation holder, pays superannuation on unpaid parental leave up to 24 months.
- Viva Energy, a two year citation holder, pays superannuation of 12% of the relevant full time equivalent base salary for the full period that employees take parental leave. Upon return, part-time employees receive superannuation contributions at the rate of 12% of the relevant full-time equivalent base salary for a period of five years after the birth of a child.
- Aurecon, a three year citation holder, pays superannuation on its paid parental leave and up to 14 weeks of an employee’s unpaid portion of parental leave.
Each of these initiatives mean that employees who take time out for caring are not disadvantaged in retirement.
Vodafone’s Super Bump
Vodafone have modelled a ‘top-up’ initiative to help boost women’s superannuation within their organisation by offering additional injections to the super accounts.
Vodafone said, “we understand that this discrepancy occurs because women are more likely to take time out of the workforce, work casually or part-time, or be in occupations with a lower rate of pay.”
All female employees receive two payments of $250, after 1 January and 1 July each year, in addition to their regular superannuation payments. These employees receive this benefit automatically, as soon as they reach 12 months of employment with the organisation, regardless of whether they are employed full time, part time or casual.
With the Super Bump program launching on 1 January 2017, over 1750 Super Bump benefit payments were made to eligible employees.
Julie Bradshaw, General Manager Organisational Effectiveness, said, “I’m proud to work for a company that is genuinely focused on addressing gender equality. The Super Bump benefit is important to me as it is a clear example of Vodafone’s acknowledgement of the impact that career breaks, for example when raising a family, can have on a female’s career and that we want to proactively address this inequality.”
It is just one program amongst a suite of other fantastic gender equality initiatives. Vodafone are committed to addressing the different barriers women experience in the workplace that cause the gender pay gap.
Vodafone was recently announced as one of 141 WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation holders. It is the first year Vodafone have received the citation and only one of four citation holders within the Information Media and Telecommunications industry.