Rice Warner implements retirement savings equity

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Rice Warner introduces female super ininiative.

Consulting firm Rice Warner has adopted an innovative approach to bridging the retirement savings gap for its female employees. The initiative addresses a fundamental gender imbalance that affects the retirement incomes of a majority of Australian female employees.

Rice Warner today released details of what is believed to be a first for an Australian business – offering its female employees a package of benefits designed to bring their expected retirement savings outcomes into line with those of their male counterparts.

The new arrangements commenced on 1 July 2013. It means Rice Warner’s female employees will be provided with a package of benefits – including flexible working conditions, generous paid parental leave, superannuation payments and long service leave accrued during parental leave, access to an educational program – and an additional superannuation payment of 2% of salary.

Rice Warner Deputy CEO, Melissa Fuller, who led the firm’s research into the retirement savings gap for females, said her investigations helped spark her interest to uncover a practical solution suitable for Rice Warner, in respect of its own female staff, to help redress the financial wellbeing challenges faced by females in retirement.

“From the outset Rice Warner saw an opportunity to tackle a systemic issue that has a broad impact on Australian females and society, but which also directly impacts our own female employees. Our business enjoys a leading position as an independent voice in the superannuation sector, so naturally it was an area we felt equipped to explore, canvass some options and adopt our own policy,” said Ms Fuller.

“As a consulting firm advising superannuation funds, Rice Warner is an expert in the field. We understand the underlying data and statistical evidence that clearly shows a stark reality that most females fall behind males in their level of retirement savings.”

“We also wanted to make a difference by showing others that with resolve, the savings gap can be dealt with. I am proud of the way our entire team has supported this package,” she said. Ms Fuller also consulted with the Australian Human Rights Commission to ensure that the initiative does not discriminate against males. The Commission considered that the package of measures was likely to be considered a special measure designed to achieve substantive equality between men and women.

We can now move forward with confidence showing other Australian employers they too can proactively support similar arrangements for their staff. Ms Fuller, with the support of Rice Warner senior management and the Board, said it makes sense to leverage the firm’s superannuation expertise and understanding of the issues to improve the outcomes for its female employees.

“This is an important employee benefit, designed specifically around the issues females face in saving adequately for their retirement. Of course we can’t control inequities within society or the superannuation system, but we are pleased to show positive change is possible by focusing on those areas where we can make a material difference”.

Superannuation Savings Gap Facts

  • The total female savings gap is $383 billion.
  • On average, 65 year old females today retire with approximately $40,000 less than 65 year old males.

 

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