7 November 2018:  Woolworths Group has become the first Australian retailer to introduce superannuation contributions for 12 months of parental leave.


The move - part of a revamped parental leave policy - is designed to help close the superannuation gender gap, which the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia estimates to be around 46 percent.


With more than 54 percent of Woolworths’ 190,000 Australian team members being female, the new superannuation policy is set to make a meaningful difference to the retirement savings of thousands of Woolworths team members across the country.


Woolworths Group Chief People Officer, Caryn Katsikogianis said: “Almost 5,000 of our team members take parental leave every year and we don’t believe they should be disadvantaged in retirement for doing so. 


“We know Australian women are retiring with a lot less super than men. As one of the country’s largest private employers we want to play our part in closing the gap.


“We hope it’ll help create an even more inclusive workplace at Woolworths, where all team members can enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities, regardless of gender.”


Rest chief Executive Officer Vicki Doyle, said: “Rest has been a long-term advocate of measures that ensure women have an equal opportunity to achieve financial security in retirement.


“We welcome Woolworths’ announcement. We know from Rest research into the impact of career breaks on superannuation, that women who take a career break are predicted to retire with an average superannuation balance of $283,000 less than their male counterparts. We believe this important measure will help improve the retirement outcomes for thousands of women.”


SDA National Assistant Secretary, Julia Fox, said: “SDA, the union for retail workers, welcomes these improvements for Woolworths employees as a crucial step towards closing the unfair gender pay gap. 


“The SDA has long advocated for super payments to be paid on parental leave, both paid and unpaid, because it helps provide a fairer superannuation system for women working at Woolworths who deserve security and dignity in retirement.”  


As part of its drive to minimise the pay gap between male and female team members, Woolworths reviewed the salaries of approximately 18,000 employees across 2016 and 2017. This led Woolworths to adjust the salaries of 29 percent of those reviewed, reducing the salary gap to an average of 0.5 percent between males and females carrying out like-for-like roles. As many male as female team members received a pay increase as a result of this program.


The Woolworths Group’s enhanced parental leave benefits include increased paid parental leave for primary caregivers, a new secondary caregiver offering, a new parental leave support program delivered by Grace Papers, which is designed to empower expectant and working parents to navigate family, career and transition back to work, it also includes personalised coaching offerings and the aforementioned additional superannuation benefits for team members up to 52 weeks, including unpaid leave.


For  more information on the Woolworths Group visit www.woolworthsgroup.com.au