Women on maternity leave will receive a boost to close the gender gap with a financial boost if Labor wins the next federal election.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten unveiled a $400 million package to increase payments to women on Wednesday, claiming Labor would ensure economic security for women an election issue.
“One of the reasons women are retiring poor is they have periods out of the workforce,” Mr Shorten said.
“They shouldn’t have to pay a motherhood penalty and retire poor.”
Under the plan, about 167,000 women who received the Commonwealth’s paid parental leave scheme and 80,000 people who received the “dad and partner payment” would be paid a super “top up”.
The scheme currently pays $720 a week for 18 weeks but not superannuation contributions.
Labor would also phase out the $450 minimum monthly income threshold for the superannuation guarantee.
Women currently retire with $157,000 in savings.
It is $113,000 or 40 per cent less than men.
34 per cent of single Australian women live in poverty by the time they are 60, despite the successes of superannuation.
Mr Shorten said closing the gap was critical to enabling women to end the “manifest piece of unfairness in Australian society.”
“Why should parents have to pay a penalty to take time off to raise their families?” Mr Shorten said.
“Our community needs mums to be mums.”