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Filling the gaps in super coverage

ONLY about one quarter of Australians with superannuation are making personal contributions, a new survey has found.

Instead, most people relied on the compulsory superannuation contri-butions made by their employer,

The survey also found that one in six people in their prime working age, from 25 to 54 years, did not have any superannuation.

It also confirmed that males were able to accumulate much more superannuation than women, and that coverage was highly varied across industries, with farming having the lowest coverage.

The Bureau of Statistics survey provides an in-depth analysis of superannuation coverage through the workforce since occupational super became widespread in the 1980s.

It found that more than one quarter of older Australians – those aged

55-69 years who have not yet retired – had no superannuation.

Among 15 to 24 year olds, nearly half had no super. This is not surprising since many of these people have not started employment or work on a casual basis. Consequently, many of these people would not be covered by the compulsory Superannuation Guar-antee arrangements.

Under the Superannuation Guar-antee, employers are not obliged to contribute to super-annuation for employees earning below $450 per month, or those under 18 years of age who are working less than 30 hours a week.

The survey found that only 28 per cent of people were making personal contributions, and most of these did so in tandem with employer contributions.

Of the remainder, 54 per cent were receiving employer contributions while 18 per cent had accrued some superannuation assets but were not currently making any contributions.

The survey found that super coverage was slightly higher among males (78 per cent) than among females (71 per cent). However the biggest gender difference was in the amount saved. The median superannuation balance for males was more than double the figure for females.

This reflected the different employment experiences of males and females. More females were employed part time and women were also more likely to break their employment to care for children.

Most jobholders had some super-annuation and the proportion varied according to employment type. For instance:

p 92 per cent of people employed full time had superannuation compared with 72 per cent of people employed part time;

p almost all employees with leave entitlements (98 per cent) had superannuation;

p fewer casual employees had superannuation (72 per cent);

p about 87 per cent of owner managers of incorporated enterprises had superannuation; and

p A much lower proportion (63 per cent) of owner managers of unincorporated enterprises had superannuation. This included people in agriculture, which was the industry with the lowest super-annuation coverage (71 per cent). The retail trade also had low coverage (73 per cent), reflecting the large proportion of casuals in this industry.

The survey assessed the impact of superannuation on retired people aged less than 70 years.

It found that only one third of this group had received a lump sum payment from superannuation and/or were receiving income from super-annuation.

However, there was a big difference in the experience of males and females.

About 55 per cent of retired males had received a lump sum payment from superannuation or were receiving income from super-annuation, compared with 28 per cent of retired females.

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