Effects of work, care, health on Super balances

Recently released research report Work Well; Retire Well, led by the University of South Australia, has noted that gendered and ageist labour markets, in conjunction with the gendered distribution of paid and unpaid work and caregiver responsibilities, results in substantial differences in the ability of men and women to accumulate sufficient superannuation and other assets, and delay retirement; with women generally worse off.

The report which is a result of The Work, Care, Health and Retirement: Ageing Agenders Project was a three year Australian Research Council research project conducted in partnership with Women in Super, Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and three industry superannuation funds (Cbus, HESTA and CareSuper). The project aimed to analyse how Australians can retire well, taking account of their key resources (such as work, superannuation, the Age Pension, and other assets) and corresponding demands (including extended workforce participation and caregiving responsibilities) in the context of an ageing population and a more feminised workforce.

Specifically the research highlighted that greater superannuation balances were associated with being male, married, in better health, having a higher household income, working longer hours and being employed in the non-service industry sectors. It noted that the substantial financial difficulties many women face as they prepare for life beyond work. It says older women, in particular, are disadvantaged financially due to caregiving responsibilities, the onus of which falls mainly on them, and the pressures this places on their ability to work full time.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including:
• Boosting low superannuation balances by removing the $450 monthly threshold for contributions, implementing annual government contributions for low income earners, and applying superannuation to paid parental leave and workers compensation
• Providing greater access to formal care services to help caregivers find a better balance of their dual responsibilities
• Ensuring equity of training and promotion opportunities for all staff, regardless of age
• Providing more flexible working arrangements, implementing retirement transition programs, and modifying tasks to accommodate any change in older workers’ physical or mental health and
• Promoting the benefits of ongoing participation in high quality work and encouraging older adults to assume more responsibility for maintaining good cognitive and physical health.

With thanks supernews.com.au




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