Seven steps to top up your super while on parental leave

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Cheryl Haines, financial planner with NGS Super, reveals the simple steps women can take to keep their super in great shape while nurturing a newborn.

Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in a woman's life! There's a lot to plan for, plenty of anticipation, and often more than just a few nerves about what lies ahead.

Just as preparation helps women make a smooth transition into parenthood, a few financial preparations can make a big difference to your super when you're heading off on parental leave.

sponsored how to top up your super on maternity leave

That matters because women currently retire with a third less super than men. One of the key drivers of this super 'gender gap' is the time women take out of the workforce to raise children.

Paid parental leave is a great leap forward for Aussie women. New mums can receive up to $882.75 weekly for up to 20 weeks, and it's a valuable helping hand.

The downside is that currently paid parental leave does not include superannuation contributions.

This can see women missing out on 20 weeks' worth of employer super contributions. Over time this can have a significant impact on a woman's retirement savings as it means missing out on the compounding returns those contributions would have generated.

The recent announcement by the Albanese Government to pay super on government paid parental leave from July 1, 2025, is a positive step forward to help close the super gender gap.

But this change is a little way off. There are a number of things you can consider now - and beyond July 1, 2025 - to help boost your super while enjoying your new baby:

1. Explore options for parental leave entitlements

While some employers choose to pay full superannuation benefits to employees taking parental leave, most do not.

The key is to know what your employer provides, and consider flexible ways to make the most of paid parental leave.

You may, for example, decide to return to work part-time and have your employer add to your super this way.

What matters is that you explore the options and understand your entitlements.

2. Consider making a personal contribution to super 

Cash is often tight when a new baby arrives. But if you can afford it, it's worth making voluntary after-tax contributions to super.

These contributions are not taxed within your fund, and they will keep your super growing. Even small sums can grow into something much bigger over time.

3. Talk to your partner about a spouse contribution

If parental leave sees your annual income fall below $40,000, your spouse or partner may be able to claim an 18% tax offset worth up to $540 annually if they contribute up to $3,000 to your super.

It's a simple way to keep your super growing for tomorrow while delivering tax savings today.

4. Know where all your super is

While there can be valid reasons to have more than one super account, the main thing is to know where all your super is.

A quick online check via your myGov account can show if you have any long-forgotten super balances.

5. Review your insurance needs

Insurance through super is extremely cost effective. And the arrival of a new family member is a cue to check if you have enough cover in place.

Key life events, such as having a baby, allow you to increase your cover up to a certain limit without the need to fill in medical forms or undergo a medical examination.

6. Check your beneficiary details are up to date

Super is not automatically included in your Will. When you've had a baby it's important to let your fund trustees know who you want to inherit your super plus any insurance. It can bring valuable peace of mind to a new family.

7. Know that advice is available

If you are unsure about the way your super is invested, or your insurance cover, or how to grow your super while on parental leave, your super fund can be a great source of support.

Most super funds offer 'limited' advice on a range of super-related topics including contributions. It's often complementary for fund members, and it's as easy as picking up the phone and calling your fund.

Or, check out the information available on your fund's website. NGS Super has a whole section devoted to member education including FAQs and online learning modules. There's even a fact sheet on super and parental leave.

Find time to take stock

Those first few weeks of motherhood can be challenging. But things settle down, and you will have moments of free time.

These provide an opportunity to take stock of your super.  It may only involve a few minutes of your time, but it can make a remarkable difference to your lifestyle when the kids are grown up and you're ready to retire.

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Cheryl is a Certified Financial Planner at NGS Super. She holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting, Business Law and Taxation), a Diploma of Financial Planning and a Diploma of Superannuation Management. Cheryl joined NGS in July 2019, bringing with her over 17 years of financial planning experience. She specialises in wealth accumulation, superannuation and retirement planning strategies.