Women face a greater risk of economic insecurity in retirement than men. It is widely acknowledged that women often miss out on crucial years of superannuation accumulation due to career breaks to raise and care for a family.
Research shows a ‘flat-lining’ of women’s superannuation balances between the ages of 38-47, a pattern which has continued for the past decade as a result of these breaks.
This stagnation has serious implications at retirement, with these missed years of accumulation resulting in an average difference of $80,000 in retirement balances between women and men.
Roy Morgan recently found the average superannuation gender gap is 27%. Previously, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s Insight paper: Women’s economic security in retirement had reported a gap of 52.8% in 2013-2014.
So while there is evidence that the gap is closing, the fact is, most women still don’t receive employer-paid contributions to superannuation while on paid parental leave. There is no legal obligation for employers to pay super when an employee is on paid or unpaid parental leave. And the government parental leave scheme does not include superannuation guarantee payments.
We need to do better. And at MetLife we are.
Starting 1 January 2019, we introduced a continuation of minimum superannuation guarantee contributions while our employees are on parental leave.
This means that all employees (women and men) accessing short and long term parental leave will have their superannuation payments continued.
MetLife will continue to pay superannuation guarantee contributions for up to 12 months and it will be at the rate employees would have otherwise received if not on parental leave. This will be in addition to the Australian Government’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme and the existing MetLife Primary Carers benefit.
This new benefit has been designed so that all parents, especially women, can grow their superannuation savings while on parental leave.
It is only a small step toward minimising the superannuation gender pay gap. There is still much to be done, and we’re committed to providing our employees with more ‘special and unique benefits’ that make MetLife a great place to work.