"Paying now is going to benefit the economy in the future." Contributed

Unions want 12 per cent super rate now

Women facing retirement would especially benefit from an immediate move to a 12 per cent superannuation guarantee rate, unions say.

They also want the current $450 minimum on when employers have to start paying superannuation removed to get super paid on every dollar earned.

The Australian Services Union, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, and the Shop Distributive & Allied Employees Association say these changes would help lift women out of poverty.

The nurses union national secretary Lori-Anne Sharp said women were retiring with 40 per cent less super than men, even in female-dominated professions.

Ms Sharp told media in Canberra on Tuesday the changes were absolutely crucial and urgently needed.

"Women deserve to retire in comfort," she said.

As an older worker, Ann Edmunds said she only got access to super halfway through her working life.

"I know a lot of women my age who are still working. We should all be retired but we can't because of this superannuation freeze," Ms Edmunds said.

"We've had to catch up."

Services union national secretary Linda White said she believed the economy could afford the super rise.

"The reality is you pay it at the other end. The state has to pay for people who live in poverty," Ms White said.

"Paying now is going to benefit the economy in the future."

The unions also want the government to rule out making super optional.

The super rate is set to rise slowly to 12 per cent by 2025, with the rate to go to 10 per cent from July 2021.

It was frozen at 9.5 per cent in 2014 under the then-Abbott coalition government.


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