How to look after your super while on parental leave


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Taking time out of the workforce to raise a family shouldn't leave you shortchanged in retirement. Here's how to keep your super growing while on parental leave.

The 2024 Federal Budget delivered a rare win for families, and in particular, women.

Under the latest Budget, superannuation will be paid on government-funded Paid Parental Leave (PPL) for parents who have a baby or adopt a child after July 1, 2025.

How to look after your super while on parental leave

It's a step that's likely to help close the super gender gap.

But it won't kick in for another year.

This makes it important for expecting parents to look at other ways to get their super growing when they take time out to raise a newborn.

Here are five strategies to help keep your super on track for growth.

1. Get your spouse to make a contribution, save on tax

If your other half is still working while you're on parental leave, they may be able to benefit from a tax rebate by making a contribution to your super fund.

If you earn below $40,000 annually, the tax rebate can be worth up to $540 annually when your spouse/partner chips in a contribution to your fund.

2. Consider splitting contributions

The Tax Office advises that some super funds allow members to split super contributions with their spouse.

This can be a plus if your spouse/partner is still working, and receiving employer contributions, while you're on parental leave.

Talk to your super fund to know what's involved, and discover if you're eligible.

3. Get the government to chip in

Make a contribution to super from your own pocket, and you could be eligible for a co-contribution worth up to $500.

Conditions apply, but in a nutshell, if you make an after-tax contribution to your super - and your annual income is less than $58,445 in 2023/24 (rising to $60,400 in 2024/25) - you could be eligible for a co-contribution of up to $500 from the government.

4. Check if you have lost or unclaimed super

Close to $14 billion is sitting in lost or unclaimed super balances.

It takes only minutes to know if some of it is yours.

Search for lost super online using myGov. Or contact the Lost Super Search Line on 13 28 65.

Need more inspiration?

Check out our table of top five postcodes for lost super to see if your neighbourhood is among them.

5. Think about bundling all your super into one account

The baby's room is ready, your bag is packed for the hospital. But is your super as neatly sorted?

Life as a new parent can be complicated. It makes sense to streamline things as much as possible before your newborn arrives.

This can include folding multiple super balances into a single account.

It can help you save on fees and insurance premiums. And it's one less thing to deal with after your baby is born.

Give your super fund a call

Your fund can offer advice on how to keep your super growing while you take a break to enjoy the newest family member.

Best of all, the advice shouldn't leave you out of pocket as the cost is covered by fund fees.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.