WIMMERA working mothers are losing millions for their superannuation.
Between the Mallee and Wannon electorates, over 15,000 mothers have missed out on $17.6 million in superannuation over the past nine years.
In the Mallee electorate, almost one thousand women missed out on $1.3 million in super payments in the 2019-2020 financial year alone.
When a parent takes their parental leave, there is no requirement to pay super during that period. Unless an employer voluntarily pays super on leave, working mother's savings fall further behind.
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According to data from Industry Super Australia, 99.6 per cent of the Mallee's Commonwealth parental leave applicants were women and just 0.4 per cent of men.
A total of 70 new fathers in the same situation in Mallee and Wannon electorates lost zero superannuation.
Member for Mallee, Anne Webster said The Federal Government's Paid Parental Leave is a safety net payment to ensure mums and dads who want to take time off work to care for a newborn baby don't have to go without pay for the period they are receiving this payment.
"Employers have the option to pay an employee's Superannuation while on paid parental leave, and I note that this is what Fairwork put in their best practice guidelines for parental leave," she said,
"In this year's budget, the Federal Government has removed the $450 threshold for the superannuation guarantee, ensuring that women (and men) with caring responsibilities, who may be working less, and therefore earning less than $450 a week will still receive superannuation contributions from their employers."
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Industry Super Australia Advocacy Director Georgia Brumby said Wimmera women are being made to sacrifice their retirement savings to have children.
"It's hard enough trying to juggle work and raising a family - it's not fair that thousands of women are also being slugged with this hidden pregnancy tax on their super as well," she said.
Ms Brumby asked that the Federal Government to look at the gender super gap and take action.
"The Prime Minister needs to fix this glaring inequity and stop ignoring the gender super gap - otherwise we will continue to see too many women at risk of retiring into poverty," she said.
The typical Wimmera woman nearing retirement has about $141,600 less super than a Wimmera man.
Wimmera women of all ages have less super than men, but the gap widens dramatically when women are in their 30s when many take time out of the workforce to raise children.
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