Superannuation payments for all Australian workers could rise to 15 per cent under a plan by the Victorian government to reform an “outdated superannuation system” that discriminates against women, carers and workers in the gig economy.
In its submission to the federal government inquiry into retirement incomes, the Andrews government calls for no delay to a planned 12 per cent super increase, as well as a pathway for it to be lifted to 15 per cent.
A number of recommendations are also aimed at making sure women enjoy the same financial security in retirement as men.
Treasurer Tim Pallas said women are currently penalised for taking time out of the workforce to have children, as they do not earn super on the Commonwealth’s paid parental leave scheme.
He said the average woman’s superannuation balance at the time of retirement in the 2015/16 financial year was $157,050, compared with $270,710 for men – a “superannuation gap” of 42 per cent.
“The superannuation system is outdated – and it needs refreshing to stamp out the discrimination that some Victorians face,” Mr Pallas said in a statement on Wednesday.
Mr Pallas wants to see superannuation paid to couples who are accessing the Commonwealth paid parental leave scheme and for super funds to stop charging fees to members on parental leave.
Other recommendations including joint superannuation accounts for couples, including same-sex couples, and changes to the sex discrimination act to allow employers to offer higher superannuation payments for female employees.
The submission also suggests carers on Commonwealth payments be paid super contributions and for the $450 monthly earnings threshold to be scrapped as it “disadvantages part-time or casual workers who work more than one job”.
The federal government is holding the first major review of Australia’s retirement savings system in 30 years, before scheduled rises in the superannuation guarantee in 2021 and 2025.
This schedule was already delayed several years by former treasurer Joe Hockey from an original plan made by Labor.