Pay Gap O'Clock: Women work for free from 3:56pm
Australian women will be working for free on the afternoon of International Women's Day according to new data released by Aware Super.
Aware Super has crunched the data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) which highlighted an average gender pay gap of 13.3% in Australia.
Applying this gap to a typical 9-5 workday, Aware has calculated that Australian women are effectively working for free from 3:56pm every day.
How the pay gap affects women's super balances
This daily difference impacts more than just take-home pay, with the gender pay gap causing a big difference in the retirement balances of Australian women.
Nationally there is a gender retirement gap of $76,000 with Western Australian recording the worse gap of $143,000.
Across 16 different industries, the professional, scientific and technical services industry had the largest pay gap of 21.2% resulting in a retirement gap of $149,000.
Aware Super CEO Deanne Stewart says that the pay gap was the single greatest impediment to women achieving financial success in retirement.
"A gender pay gap affects more than your take-home pay," she says.
"It directly reduces your super contributions, which in turn directly reduces your potential balance at retirement."
It's not just professional services with the healthcare industry also reporting a gap of 21.1% and financial services reporting a 19.1% gap.
"As the fund with more teachers than any other in Australia, we're also deeply concerned to see the gender pay gap for the Education and Training sector sitting at 10.1%, meaning a $61,000 deficit to women when they retire from this essential role in our communities."
Stewart says that it isn't good enough to just talk about this issue a few times throughout the year, with even the federal government conceding that Australian women will be underpaid $51.8 billion this year.
"Another way of saying that is, Australia's female workforce will do $51.8 billion worth of work for free," she says.
Pay gap clock
That's why Aware Super has designated 3:56pm as Pay Gap O'Clock.
"To put a daily reminder in the diaries of Australian workplaces that as of this time, your female workforce is essentially there for free," says Stewart.
The move is similiar to the WGEA Equal Pay Day, which in 2022 was August 29 and marks the 60 extra days after the end of the financial year that Australian women must work, on average, to earn the same annual salary earned by men.
The 2022 date was calculated from a pay gap of 14.1% which has since dropped to 13.3% in February this year.
WGEA Director Mary Wooldridge says this was the lowest gap on record but warns its only a limited reflection of the true situation.
"The gender pay gap is a handbrake on women's ability to make ends meet. With inflation at 7.8%, and rising, everyday essentials are becoming increasingly unaffordable," says Ms Woolridge.
"Women are $253.50 worse off every single week as a result of their gender."
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