TRANSCRIPT: Superannuation on Paid Parental Leave; Gender equality



SUBJECTS: Superannuation on Paid Parental Leave; Gender equality.   

MURRAY JONES, HOST: Well, what a day it is. And it is an important day as well. And I know it's something that often guys talk about, and I think sometimes guys maybe don't quite understand exactly, you know, why we do have International Women's Day. Let's talk about it some more. And of course, a bit of reform in recent times, particularly of the Paid Parental Leave entitlements, obviously, for women. Sometimes guys can actually be a part of that as well, interestingly, as well. But when it comes to the superannuation aspect, that's another entitlement that has been left behind. But things are about to change. She's the Chair of the Status of Women Committee, she's also the Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon joins me this morning. Good morning, Sharon. How are you today?

SHARON CLAYDON MP: I'm terrific. And good morning and happy International Women's Day to all the women in Cairns and Far North Queensland.

JONES: And thank you for coming out of a breakfast, an International Women's Day breakfast. I believe you've had some bacon and eggs already and a coffee, but you've stepped out to talk to us this morning. So, thanks so much for your time. It's a great opportunity to talk to you, Sharon.

CLAYDON: Thank you. I'm fully nourished and raring to go.

JONES: Thank you. Okay, let's talk a little bit more about this, because obviously there has been quite historic reforms when it comes to the Paid Parental Leave, but there's an aspect of it that I guess has gone by the wayside, but that's about to change. That's when it comes to the superannuation aspect of it all. And obviously, for women to actually continue to actually build their superannuation is really important, even when it comes to having kids, Sharon.

CLAYDON: It sure is. And I think it comes as a shock to a lot of people to find out that you don't get paid superannuation when you take Paid Parental Leave. And this has been a huge issue for Australian women. We know that women are retiring with at least 25% less in their superannuation funds than men do. So, they've got sort of a much more modest retirement income. But this is a big issue for men, too, because we want to see men being able to take part in the most joyous occasions of their life when their kids are being born and be part of that sort of child raising, those really early formative years. And so Paid Parental Leave was just one of those outliers, it was a workplace entitlement that did not accrue superannuation like annual leave or sick leave did. And this is really starting to normalise the fact that parental leave is another form of genuine leave. It's a workplace entitlement, and we want both men and women to be able to take full part in sort of those caring needs of children and let's make sure that they are not financially disadvantaged to do so.

JONES: And it's interesting what you've just said, too. At the end of the day, men also certainly get an advantage from this as well. So, it's not just about women, to be honest with you.

CLAYDON: Absolutely not. But it is a change that women have really been at the forefront of advocacy around this, because traditionally there has been women that have done most of that primary caring. They are the ones taking lots of breaks in their careers, so they already have interruptions to their superannuation payments. But when you're taking those breaks for looking after your babies, then it's come at a big financial cost to them. We don't want women to be continuing to be financially disadvantaged. We're also really actively encouraging men to be part of that really important part of family life, and we want them to also not be financially disadvantaged to do so. So, it's really normalising our workplace entitlement regime and making sure that it's a form of leave, just like annual leave, just like sick leave, that will approve a 12% superannuation payment.

JONES: Look, can we talk about something slightly different? It was interesting, a few years ago, my boss here at the radio station, we were talking about International Women's Day, and sometimes, being a bloke, I thought he may not have, I guess, a modern perspective in relation to it. So, I just was generally talking to him about it and some of the things that we should do, and he was really strong and he said, hey, Murray, I see it on a daily basis. There is no doubt that in the workplace, when it comes to pay and so many aspects, even subtle inequality, women, they certainly do have a tough time and it's not an equal footing. So, some of the things, when it comes to the pay gap and what we're talking about here with the Paid Parental Leave, it is something that is a serious issue. Sadly, a lot of guys don't see it, they don't understand it. But credit to my former boss, who really saw it and he know I see it on a daily basis in the workplace, Murray, and he came out really strong and actually quite surprised me. But it's something that I think a lot of guys just simply don't understand that there's a glass ceiling there in a lot of ways, Sharon.

CLAYDON: You know, gender equality is good for everyone. The only way you get to achieve gender equality is, particularly when we think about something like the gender pay gap, you've got two options. You drag men's wages down or you lift women's wages. Now, no one wants to drag men's wages down, so we are all in this together of trying to lift women onto a more equitable footing. So, we do not shy away from the fact that the Albanese Labor Government is interested in helping women earn more. And that's why we've backed things like the aged care workers pay increase, the minimum wage increase, because we know women tend to be occupied in these feminised industries, tend to be low paid industries, so we've got to lift those wages. We want women to keep more of what they earn. So, that's why the reforming the tax cuts was critical, because 90%, like every Australian taxpayer will get a tax break, but 90% of women are going to be better off under these new tax reforms. And we want in retirement, women to have a more dignified retirement and to have enough money to live in safety and dignity, and that's part of the superannuation equation now where we're making sure those retirement incomes are also adequate.

JONES: It's about celebrating, and of course, celebrating with the idea of unity, not division, when it comes to International Women's Day. You better go because there's probably croissants and patisserie things are about to be served as well for International Women's Day and the breakfast you're in this morning. Sharon Claydon, she's the Member for Newcastle and Chair of the Status of Women Committee. Been great to talk to you, have a fantastic day. Thank you so much for your time and happy International Women's Day. Cheers.

CLAYDON: Thanks for your interest and a big shout out to all the women in your part of the world too. Thank you.