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Greens move to boost super for women

Greens Deputy Leader and workplace relations spokesperson Adam Bandt has given notice of a private member's bill allowing employers to boost superannuation payments to women employees.

The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Boosting Superannuation for Women) Bill 2014 will ensure employers are able to contribute more super for women employees than male employees without being considered to have breached anti-discrimination legislation.

"Women are falling behind when it comes to super, ending their working lives with less to retire on than men. Progressive and far-sighted employers should be able to boost women's super without seeking a special exemption from sex discrimination laws on a case by case basis," Mr Bandt said.

"The gender pay gap continues after retirement. The Greens are working for a fair society by enabling employers to increase superannuation payments for women.

"We need laws that reflect the reality of women's working lives. Women are more likely to take time out of the paid workforce for care-giving, they are paid on average up to 25 per cent less than men and there is an increased prevalence of women in casual and part-time employment.

"On average women retire with less superannuation than men, but live three to four years longer in retirement.

"Women are retiring without enough money.

"Currently some employers are paying women more but they have to apply for a specific exemption from the Sex Discrimination Act. This bill would remove that requirement.

"We are hopeful that the whole Parliament can get behind this sensible amendment to our super laws."

Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens spokesperson for women, said:

"The gender inequality of both pay and super are compounding to leave many women disproportionately impoverished in their old age.

"Yet the Abbott Government continues to take backward steps on financial gender equality.

"Tony Abbott teamed up with Clive Palmer to abolish the low income super contribution from July 2017 impacting one in every two working women, and Mr Abbott's planned university fee interest hikes would continue to pile up during care-giving years.

"This bill gives employers the opportunity to act to fix the systemic inequality that women still face," Senator Waters said.

The average super balance of women is significantly lower than that of men. For example, according to the ABS average super account balances were $82,615 for men and $44,866 for women in 2011-12.

The bill implements one of the recommendations of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia outlined in a recent report - The future of Australia's super: a new framework for a better system.

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