Viva Energy Australia (“Viva Energy”) – the exclusive licensee to the Shell brand in Australia – has become the irst company in
Australia to offer employees a full-time superannuation payment of 12% base salary for up to five years during unpaid parental leave and part-time work periods.
Viva Energy CEO, Scott Wyatt, said he was immensely proud of the new policy and called on corporate Australia to look at ways that they can help parents – particularly women – to overcome systemic financial disadvantage in retirement as a result of taking time out of the workforce to have children.
“While the new policy applies equally to men and women, we know it will make a lifetime’s difference to the retirement savings of female employees who traditionally take extended time off to have children and often return to work part time,” said Scott.
“When I became a Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Pay Equity Ambassador, I pledged to encourage other business
leaders to recognise the importance of pay equity,” he said.
“I hope our new policy inspires other businesses to be innovative in working on the challenge within their own companies if a gap exists.
“Besides being the right thing to do, investing in the future of employees also makes sound business sense.
“It provides another incentive to attract and retain high-performing staff while enabling them to manage work-life responsibilities across an extended period.
“Our company has always taken a leading position on superannuation as an important strategic element of our remuneration and have paid 12% of base salary for nearly 20 years, well above the government mandated rates.”
Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Director, Libby Lyons, strongly supports Viva Energy’s policy initiatives.
“Taking time out of the workforce to care for children should not have any impact on an employee’s economic security in retirement,” said Libby.
“As women still carry the disproportionate share of society’s caring responsibilities, the statistics tell us that they also accumulate significantly less retirement savings,” she said.
Viva Energy is to be congratulated for taking these positive actions to substantially improve the retirement balances of their employees who are also working parents.”
According to the Association of Superannuation Funds Australia, Women’s average superannuation balances at retirement are 52.8% lower than men’s . Clare, R. (2015), Superannuation account balances by age and gender (Sydney: Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia)