Workers worse off by $1,400

A new report by Industry Super Australia and Cbus has estimated that workers are missing out on $3.6 billion of compulsory superannuation each year – or $1,489 for the average worker affected

Under the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) employers must contribute 9.5 per cent into the super account of every worker over the age of 18 earning $450 a month, but a new report released by Industry Super Australia and Cbus has estimated that workers are missing out on $3.6 billion of compulsory superannuation each year – or $1,489 for the average worker affected.

Industry Super Australia chief executive, David Whiteley, says that the implications are wider than the individual.

“Today’s retirement income policies are made on the assumption that, into the future, we’ll all have super. As pension access tightens and home ownership declines, those missing out on compulsory super stand little chance of a decent standard of living in retirement,” said Whiteley.

Cbus chairman Steve Bracks says: “We have stories of workers who’ve put faith in the system only to discover months later that their super, including extra voluntary contributions, has not been paid into their accounts and is lost completely when companies move into liquidation.”

“It is not unusual to hear from members who have lodged a complaint with the ATO still waiting for answers, let alone their money, years afterwards. One has told us he was advised recovery of unpaid super may take up to 10 to 20 years. “Employers who do the right thing by their employees are competing on an uneven playing field against those who don’t,” said Bracks.

What to do about unpaid superannuation?

The joint Industry Super-Cbus report highlights little-known but serious system gaps. It recommends specific actions such as:

  • Real-time payment, reporting and compliance of SG instead of the 25-year-old rules that allow employers to hold on to money for up to 4 months;
  • Closing the loophole that allows employers to count salary sacrifice amounts towards the SG total
  • Greater resourcing for the ATO to recover unpaid SG
  • A clear, enforceable mechanism for super funds to recover unpaid super from employers on behalf of members
  • Retaining strong penalties against employers who fail to pay SG including personal liability for company directors

Responding to the report, the Australian Council of Trade Union says employers must take immediate action to rectify $3.6 billion of underpaid superannuation and has welcomed the establishment of a Senate Economics References Committee review into the impact of non-payment of superannuation.

“This is a $3.6 billion problem, non-payment of superannuation is a form of wage-theft.  It should not be up to individual employees to chase their employer for entitlement owed,” said ACTU President Ged Kearney.

“The fact that one in three workers miss out on superannuation that is owed to them shows we absolutely need a Senate Inquiry.  Employers who are dodging super obligations must be brought to heel and the ATO must be much better resourced to deal with breaches.”

Share this article

Enjoyed reading this article?

Sign up to receive more news like this straight to your inbox

By subscribing you agree to the Canstar Privacy Policy.

Thanks for signing up!

Good things are coming your way.