People

Meet your superannuation champion

It isn't every day that you will hear someone admit to being passionate about superannuation, but Leanne Reid cares deeply about the impact superannuation is having on the gender pay gap and how women - young and old - need a champion who will make super a priority in workplace bargaining.

Leanne Reid is a policy officer in Waste Authority services for the Department of Environment Regulation. Leanne works on waste laws, dealing with local governments and researching other jurisdictions and what they are doing to get the best outcome for Western Australia. Lately she has been working on a recycled construction products program, which looks at local governments using recycled products on their local roads.

It’s not Leanne’s work that has made her feel so passionately about superannuation, it’s her friends. Leanne has a number of friends who aren’t public servants and who have spent most of the working life caring for the elderly or people with disabilities. They are now in their late 50’s and have very little superannuation.

“I’m really passionate about the impact of superannuation and the gender pay gap on older women.

“Women really suffer, we suffer by receiving low pay, by taking time out of work to care for families, that could be children or elders or anyone else who needs caring in the family. We are often in lower paid jobs as a result of care duties and at the end of our working lives we have a gender pay gap or a superannuation gap of 46.6 per cent.”

“When a woman takes unpaid maternity leave, an employer contribution to superannuation could help decrease the gender pay gap and lessen the chances of older women living in poverty.”

“In 2012 38.7 per cent of older single females in Australia were living in poverty, and anyone could be an older single female it doesn’t mean you have chosen to be a single female all your life; anyone could end up in that statistic.”

“If you look at the gender pay gap with women’s salaries, in 2014 it was 18.8 per cent difference, then in November 2015 it was 17.9 per cent. If you look at a full time worker through the lens of the gender pay gap, it is 23.9%."

The CPSU/CSA are making a claim to bridge this divide in their Union Agreement negotiations. The Your Union Agreement claim will cover more than thirty thousand public sector workers in Western Australia. The 2016 State of the Sector report revealed that 72 per cent of public servants are women and 53 percent of the workforce are over 45-years-old, so it is no surprise that superannuation is a key issue CPSU/CSA memberswant discussed at the bargaining table. You can see the full claim and latest campaign updates here.

RELATED: LEANNE REID RECOUNTS VISIT FROM MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, HON STEPHEN DAWSON MLC

Image statistics: Workplace Gender Equity Agency