Northern Territory mothers miss out on millions in pensions, says Industry Super
Before she got pregnant, Aneeta Clark was working hard to make a career out of the Darwin hotel scene, putting aside her savings and enjoying her independence.
- NT mothers have lost more than $16 million in retirement savings over the past decade, analysis by Industry Super Australia finds
- The super giant asks the federal government to include superannuation in its paid parental leave plan
- Pensions minister Jane Hume said the Commonwealth was not planning to do this before the election
That all changed when she had her son, Chesney.
“It’s a bit of a financial shock,” Ms. Clark said.
“You lose your disposable income if you’re lucky enough to have any, you’re financially dependent then on a spouse or the government and you still have a mortgage to pay or rent.”
In another jab at Ms Clark’s pocket, she is set to join nearly 15,000 Northern Territory mothers who have lost millions in retirement savings over the past 10 years, according to the latest analysis from Industry Super Australia.
That’s because the federal government doesn’t pay superannuation out of its parental leave plan.
“I’m very grateful for the paid parental leave scheme, but after four months I think it’s very difficult to go straight back to work,” Ms Clark said.
Georgia Brumby, advocacy director at Industry Super Australia, said its impact on mothers in the territory was “quite shocking”.
“The NT has a pretty big super gender gap, with women retiring about 30% less than men,” she said.
The super giant’s analysis shows that the omission of the Commonwealth Parental Leave Scheme superannuation means NT mothers have collectively missed out on more than $16million over the past decade.
In Solomon’s electorate, up to 8,930 women lost $10 million to their super, and in Lingiari, 5,660 working mothers lost $6.3 million.
In the 2019-20 fiscal year, 1,655 women in the Territory missed out on $2.1 million in super contributions, the data shows.
The data also shows that it is overwhelmingly women who are hardest hit by their super balance, as more than 99% of those who accessed the Commonwealth Parental Leave Scheme in the Northern Territories were women.
“They shouldn’t have to sacrifice their retirement savings to take time off work to raise babies.”
Women Without Enough Super Face Poverty In Old Age
In Australia, women aged 55 and over are the fastest growing group of homeless people, according to the 2016 census.
Dr Angela Jackson, chief economist at Impact Economic and Policy, said this was largely because women had accrued fewer pensions than men over their lifetime.
“Women earn lower wages throughout their working lives,” she said.
“They also have gaps or leaves, especially to have children, and they do not receive a retirement pension during this period.”
Dr Jackson said it was reasonable to require the Commonwealth to include pension payments as part of its parental leave scheme.
“This leave to have young children and have babies is a right in the workplace, and it should be considered like other rights in the workplace and be accompanied by a retirement pension,” he said. she stated.
“In fact, one in three women retire without any supers.
“It used to be, ‘Don’t worry because you’ll have a husband, you’ll have a man to back you up’, but obviously for a lot of women that’s not the case.”
Dr Jackson said around half of marriages in Australia now end in divorce, pushing a growing number of women who have sacrificed their wages to have children into financial hardship.
The Commonwealth does not intend to include the super in the program
In a statement to the CBA, Pensions Minister Jane Hume said the federal government had no plans to include superannuation in its paid parental leave scheme until after the next election.
She said the Commonwealth Government had already made changes to the scheme in 2020 which made it easier for Australian families to choose how they split parental leave for primary and secondary carers.
“Given the disruption to the Australian workforce due to COVID-19, we have not seen the full impact of these reforms since they were announced,” she said.
“It would be remiss of this government to make any further changes without giving due consideration to the changes already made.”
In the meantime, Territory mothers like Ms. Clark will have to pursue a delicate balancing act between raising their children and planning for their retirement.
“I’m a little worried thinking about the future and what I can do to make sure I stay financially secure,” she said.