UNPAID carers deserved better conditions under the tax and superannuation system, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner said on Thursday.
Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick released the Australian Human Rights Commission's report into investing in unpaid carers.
Ms Broderick said the current system did not recognise the contribution of 5.5 million carers in society, many of whom were women.
"The failure of our superannuation and taxation systems alone to recognise this contribution and provide a value for this unpaid work means that carers - mostly women - who have had long and repeated absences from paid employment, find they have negligible retirement savings and, indeed, often retire in poverty," she said.
"Considering the contribution these people have made to our economy by undertaking this unpaid work, it is time we changed this outcome."
The report made several recommendations for reform to improve the way carers are treated in the tax and superannuation systems.
The main recommendations:
- Create carer assessments to determine a carer's support needs and "carer cards" for accessing services and government entitlements
- Give unpaid carers flexible work arrangements and employers to reasonably accommodate their needs
- Ensure income support reflects the costs of providing care and does not penalise carers
- Improve leave entitlements for unpaid carers
- Create new workplace initiative to help support unpaid carers in the workforce
- Reforms to retirement income, superannuation and the age pension for unpaid workers, particularly women
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