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Women in Super want compulsory workplace savings schemes

The Women in Super group says that the new savings scheme for civil servants has some good features, but it is also proposing other ideas.

Thursday, November 6th 2003, 9:18PM
The Government’s announcement of a retirement savings scheme for the state sector is good news for women public servants, says Women in Super chair Louise Gibson.

"Women face a number of extra challenges when planning for their retirement income – women tend to be on lower incomes, more likely than men to work part time and often have a broken work history having taken time out to care for children.

"Workplace superannuation can help redress that balance because it is an efficient and simple way of saving for many people. It makes saving for retirement easier and more accessible.

"Many superannuation schemes provide group benefits that cannot be accessed so readily by individual savers such as lower administration fees and access to low cost wholesale investment management charges, thereby further reducing cost. These provide significant benefits for everyone, but especially to women and low income earners," Gibson says.

"However, there can be barriers for women wanting to get into workplace schemes."

Women in Super (WiS) is pleased to see that the design of this new scheme will ensure employer contributions immediately vest to employees and that participation is not linked to length of service. These are both important issues for women.

There are other design features that should be built into the scheme to ensure it provides the most benefit to women and low income earners. These include good transfer provisions to encourage continuity of savings, restrictions on partial withdrawals, tax efficiencies (making the SSCWT rate of 21% mandatory from 1 April 2004 for any employer contributions in respect of those employees who earn less than $38,000pa), the ability to accept minimal contributions, the ability to vary contributions as financial circumstances change and the payment of fees.

Gibson said the Government scheme was an important first step towards encouraging all employers to offer workplace savings schemes. In the long term, WiS would like to see it made mandatory for all employers to provide access to a workplace savings scheme, even if they choose not to match their employees’ contributions.

This is a press release from Women in Super

« ASFONZ applauds Government's workplace savings initiativeState Sector Retirement Savings Scheme »

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