Rice Warner has urged the government to address the relatively poor economic status of women, particularly when it comes to superannuation and retirement.
In its submission to the Senate References Committee inquiry into the poor economic status of women in retirement, Rice Warner said a variety of solutions need to be implemented by a range of stakeholders, including government.
“We need to acknowledge this issue and embrace the complex and linked measures needed to fix it,” the report stated.
Rice Warner's submission recommended that the government take regulatory steps to improve the “sub-standard” experience for Australian female retirees.
Rice Warner suggested that 15 hours a week free child care for three- and four-year-olds be provided by the government. Sex discrimination legislation should also be amended to allow employers to make additional super contributions to female staff without the need for specific approval, the report said.
In addition, the report stated that joint superannuation accounts for married couples should be permitted and a tax deduction for financial planning delivered through super funds be considered by government.
Rice Warner also called on employers to tackle the gender gap when it comes to super.
Most notably, Rice Warner argued that employers should provide incentives for women to return to work such as flexible working conditions, including part-time roles, the opportunity to work from home and the ability to take additional unpaid annual leave.
Moreover, the superannuation industry must also contribute to addressing the issue.
The report said education should be expanded and advice services be tailored towards female members. Investment strategies must also be improved to help pensions last longer.
“Superannuation funds should seek to invest in areas of growth caused by demographic change. For example, public housing for the aged, retirement villages, aged care facilities as well as businesses and research within the health industry,” the report said.
Rice Warner concluded that a multilateral approach from all stakeholders be installed to find a solution for gender disparity.
“The list of solutions is long and the cost of some proposals is high. However, it shows that we all have a role to play to reduce the gender gap in retirement,” Rice Warner said.
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