A lifetime limit on super contributions would be fairer than annual limits and the two main political parties should commit to the idea ahead of the election, said CA ANZ.
As cost-of-living pressures take centre stage in the run-up to Saturday’s (21 May) vote, the body said a lifetime cap would simplify the system and especially benefit those with broken work patterns, particularly women.
“The gender pay gap in Australia is 14 per cent, which puts women at a significant financial disadvantage to their male counterparts,” said CA ANZ superannuation leader Tony Negline.
“With lower wages comes lower super contributions – resulting in a less secure financial future.
“To compound the issue, women often take more career breaks to care for family members, resulting in them earning less or no superannuation over their formative career-building years.”
The annual limit on concessional contributions is $27,500 while non-concessional contributions are capped at $110,000 a year.
While superannuation rules allow for some exceptions, such as concessional catch-up contributions in years when the maximum has not been reached, they do not go far enough, said Mr Negline.
“An annual contribution cap holds women back from topping up their super when they are in a position to do so later in their careers,” he said.
“This is a really dangerous position to be in, especially if women leave a relationship and need to support themselves independently.
“To fix this, we are asking both major political parties to commit to a lifetime super contribution cap, which levels the playing field for anyone getting back into the workforce and playing catch-up on their finances.”
Mr Negline said a lifetime super cap was also a simple, practical – and non-inflationary – policy solution in an election campaign that has so far been absent of any bold superannuation ideas.
“If a woman re-enters the workforce into a high-paying job and the capacity to make generous super contributions, she should not be penalised for wanting to make up for the years super contributions weren’t being made,” Mr Negline said.
“That’s why today we are calling on both sides of politics to adopt our sensible and equitable policy that levels the playing field for women and their finances.”
The issue of gender equity on superannuation has encouraged several groups to come forward with ideas, including paying super on parental leave or a baby bonus of $5,000, which was recently proposed by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia.