Labor promises superannuation boost for parents and low-paid workers

Labor promises superannuation boost for parents and low-paid workers
Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten. Photo by Matt Roberts via Wikimedia Commons

If they win the election, Labor has promised to pay superannuation to parents on government parental leave and to those who earn less than $450 a month.

The Labor party has announced a long list of changes to superannuation as part of a plan to help prevent women from entering “abject poverty” upon retirement.

The new policy would cost around $409 million over a 4 year period and would apply to both women on maternity leave and men on paternity leave.

Labor has also said it would also get rid of the $450 earning threshold at which super payments begin to be made.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen criticised Australia’s current superannuation system, saying that it wasn’t working “as well as it should for Australia’s women”.

Under the plan, Mr Bowen said that a mother-of-three who took maternity leave 3 separate times would be $30,000 better off upon retirement. He also said that women would benefit from changes to the minimum earning amount at which super payments start.

He said that the policy was needed especially because of an “increase in casualization” as well as “people working more low-paid jobs” and that these people need more money in their superannuation accounts.

He said that it was an “anomaly that had got to be fixed” and that it was a “matter of fairness”.

If enacted, the new policy is expected to help hundreds of thousands of Australians, including 200,000 using paid parental leave.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said that the plan used compound interest to boost retirement savings and that it would mean women would no longer have to pay a “motherhood penalty”.

He said that “Australian women deserve to be treated equally” and that “a husband is not a retirement plan”.

He said that the plan was not discriminatory, and that it was meant to ensure women “have some independence in their retirement”.