The government decision reinforces the gender pay gap, says an accounting body.
Rejecting parental super ‘hurts hundreds of thousands’: CPA
CPA Australia has joined the chorus of dismay about the government decision not to pay superannuation on taxpayer-funded parental leave and has called on Canberra to revisit the issue.
“This decision will cause financial harm to hundreds of thousands of Australian women during their working lives and in retirement, including thousands of accountants,” said CPA Australia’s general manager external affairs, Dr Jane Rennie.
“We are beyond disappointed. We ask the Prime Minister to reconsider this decision ahead of the budget or subsequent election.”
The government’s Retirement Income Review found that paying super on parental leave would lessen the impact of career breaks taken by women to raise children. The idea has been supported by a raft of superannuation funds and industry bodies.
But the government has rejected the proposal, according to reports this week in the Sydney Morning Herald, with ministers concerned there would be only minor benefits for the amount of money required.
With 160,000 members and young women increasingly choosing to enter the accounting profession, CPA Australia said the decision smacked of unfairness and would leave women with second-class super.
“Australians are big fans of a fair go, but there’s nothing fair about this decision,” Dr Rennie said. “Women retire with smaller super balances than men, and that means less financial security. Time out of the workforce raising children contributes to the gender super gap.
“We don’t accept that paying super on parental leave won’t have a big enough impact for the amount of money required.
“It’s going to take a range of measures to address decades of gender inequity in Australia.
“We’ll be watching the upcoming budget closely to see if it includes meaningful measures to improve women’s economic participation and financial security.
“The Retirement Income Review canvassed paying superannuation on parental leave. The Productivity Commission recommended paying super on parental leave. Australians have a right to know why the government doesn’t think it’s worthwhile.”