Senior Partnerships Adviser
With more time out of the workforce due to caring responsibilities, and a higher rate of part-time work, women often retire with far less superannuation than their male counterparts. The superannuation pay gap between women and men at the end of their careers is often staggering.
Recognising this, first-time Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation recipient Viva Energy has become the first Australian company to offer employees a full-time superannuation payment of 12% base salary for up to five years during unpaid parental leave and part-time work periods.
The policy applies equally to male and female workers, however the company acknowledges that it will make an enormous difference to the retirement savings of female employees who traditionally take extended time off for caring responsibilities and often return to work part-time as a result.
Scott Wyatt, CEO of Viva Energy says he is extremely proud of the work the company has done in addressing the superannuation gap.
“We recognised that women face unique challenges when it comes to retirement savings, with statistics showing they retire on average with less than half the amount of superannuation than men.”
Along with Viva Energy, another first-time recipient of the Employer of Choice citation, Dexus have also started paying superannuation contributions to primary carers throughout the duration of their parental leave period.
Dexus Asset Manager, Jamie Toko recently returned to work following the birth of her first child. She says the superannuation entitlements she received throughout her nine-month parental leave ensured her accumulated superannuation balance at retirement age was maintained.
“The contributions meant a lot to me on both a personal and professional level. I am on equal footing with my male colleagues, and the benefit has essentially closed any gap that would not have impacted me until retirement.”
Peace of mind is something super contributions during parental leave provide HSBC Bank employee Megan Cross, a Senior Regulatory Compliance Manager who is about to go on parental leave with her second child.
HSBC pay their employees superannuation on unpaid parental leave for up to 24 months, which Ms Cross says gives her confidence about her retirement savings and provides her with the confidence to return to work based on what is best for her family and career, rather than financial concerns.
With research showing men’s superannuation balances at retirement are, on average, twice as large as women’s, organisations developing policies to address this issue for their female employees are going a long way in helping to close the ever growing retirement gap.