Australian women left with $1.3 billion in underpaid pensions for over a year, new report says
Australian women were underpaid $1.3 billion in 12-month pension payments thanks to a little-known law in the 1990s.
According to a new report from Industry Super, about one in five women did not receive the full amount of their retirement savings owed to them in fiscal 2019-2020.
On average, one in four women ages 20 to 39 lost $1,110, and nearly 40 percent of younger women earning less than $25,000 a year lost about $570.
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It also says about a quarter of women in female-dominated industries like elderly care and personal services will be underpaid by as much as $40,000 over their lifetime, about 10 percent of savings.
The report traces the shortfall to a law introduced in the 1990s that allows employers to pay quarterly instead of every pay cycle.
While many employers pay more often, organizations that don’t can cost workers more in the long run as pension contributions disappear.
The workers then lose returns on that money, which would have multiplied over time.
While extreme underpayment can affect anyone, the report argues that it is felt more by women because losing money early in their careers can have a bigger impact in the long term.
On average, women retire with about a third fewer super than men, due to a range of factors including maternity leave, longer part-time hours and the gender pay gap.
The $1.3 billion lost in 2019/20 was less than the $1.6 billion lost the previous year. However, the report attributes this to government support paid early in the pandemic rather than reforms targeting unpaid super.
Office and administrative workers, skilled workers, and personal service workers in industries such as childcare, elderly care, and nursing were the most likely to be underpaid.
The report states that even if supercontributions appear on a payslip, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the amount has been deposited into the account.
It argues that paying contributions in line with pay cycles would make it easier for workers to track their payments, which should equal 10.5 percent of their pay, and ultimately cost the federal government nothing.
“The obligation to pay super with wages will immediately benefit women,” the report said.
“This change could result in an additional $300 million in supercontributions flowing to women over the next four years.”
Women who feel they are missing the super money they are entitled to should use a calculator tool such as that provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or Industry Super.
You should compare the amount given by the calculator with the contributions that your employer actually paid into your retirement account.
A list of these contributions can be found in an individual’s online account with their super fund, on their most recent super fund membership statement, or in ATO online through an individual’s myGov account.
If a difference is found between these amounts, employees should speak to their employer about their concerns.
The employee’s super fund or union can also help.
https://7news.com.au/business/finance/australian-women-underpaid-by-13-billion-in-superannuation-over-a-year-new-report-finds–c-10188342 Australian women left with $1.3 billion in underpaid pensions for over a year, new report says