At Serversaurus we are a group of people working together that share the values of freedom, fairness and fun. We try our best to infuse these values into everything we do. We think very deeply and carefully about fairness and how to bring it into all aspects of our business: staff remuneration; employment conditions; recognition of effort; involvement in making decisions, and more. We hold these values dear on a personal level, and there is plenty of research that shows fairness is good for business.
When the Australian Government proposed changes to the higher education system as part of its 2014-2015 Budget, it included a change the annual interest rate on loans through the Higher Education Loan Programme from the CPI (2.6 per cent at the time) to the ten year Government Bond rate (4.0 per cent). This would have a far-reaching consequence that was very unfair. Because women take more time out from the workforce to raise a family than men, the compounding effect of this higher interest rate would mean that women could be paying far more than men, for the same education. Tens of thousands of dollars more! Luckily for both women and men, the change never happened.
Thinking about this scenario lead me to consider the superannuation system and realise that it is subject to the same effect. Because women take more time out from the workforce to raise a family than men, they accumulate significantly less superannuation. Superannuation contributions stop when work stops, but also the level of contribution stalls while out of the workforce. Women usually return to the workforce at the same level of career progression they were at, while most men will continue to advance in salary and therefore higher superannuation contributions.
If we look at the outcome of the current system, it’s clearly not fair. So we need to do something about this problem. Of course action needs to be taken at the highest levels – this affects every woman in the country. So we’ll lobby and encourage industry and government to take action on this issue at the broadest level. There is a lot of work being done in this area: Make Super Fair.
But for us, this doesn’t address the need for fairness in our own company. We need concrete, real action. We made some some assumptions: let’s say women start in the workforce at 21, at the same salary level as men, take 10 years out of the workforce to raise a family, then return at the same salary level, and superannuation fund returns average 5% per annum. We plugged these assumptions into a spreadsheet and came out with a surprising result. It would only take around 5% extra superannuation to make retirement savings equal by retirement age. So since February 2016, at Serversaurus we pay our female staff an extra 5.5% superannuation. It’s not a lot, and if your company has gender parity (50% male and female staff), it would produce an overall increase in payroll of less than 2.5%.
Why don’t you encourage your company to join us and help to make Superannuation Fair!
Martin Gleeson, Co-Founder.