Australian workers have had their futures put on the line with billions still missing in stolen superannuation.
The Auditor General recently released a report slamming the Australian Tax Office for only being “partly effective” at recovering stolen super. In Auditor General speak, that is a huge criticism.
In fact, the ATO has only managed to recover a measly 15% of its own estimate of stolen superannuation in the economy (the real amount of unpaid super is even higher).
Keeping in mind that the most recent estimate from the ATO stated there was $2.5 billion in stolen super in just one financial year, that’s billions of dollars of workers’ earnings being pocketed by unscrupulous, dodgy bosses.
On average the ATO only recovers just over half of the stolen super notices it issues to employers, showing just how ineffective they are in holding dodgy employers to account.
The Auditor General has criticised the ATO under-counting of scale the stolen super crisis. The ATO under-estimates stolen super by half of the $5 billion per year that Industry Super Australia shows.
According to Industry Super Australia, stolen super affects more than a quarter of workers, costing each affected worker an average of $1,700 per year. Compounded over a lifetime of work, that can add up to a lot!
We also know that working women retire with far less super than men. We can’t afford to let these gaps continue to exist.
We need to see real action on protecting workers’ superannuation from unethical employers, so workers’ retirements aren’t put in jeopardy. Super theft is just as serious as wage theft.
Australian unions for years have argued that super should be recognised as a workplace right in the National Employment Standards – these outline the minimum entitlements for employees in Australia.
This would allow workers to recover stolen superannuation through their unions, rather than wait for the ATO to do something.
Super should be paid at the same time as your wages rather than the legislated minimum of just four times a year.
Regular contributions are an important way of you checking that you’re getting paid the super you’re owed.
The best way to ensure your super is paid on time and in full is to be a union member. If you think your employer has not paid your super, the best thing you can do is talk with your union about it as soon as possible.
In fact, some employers pay more than the minimum for superannuation, often due to union members negotiating a higher figure into agreements.
Australian unions are fighting for these changes because we believe all workers should have a decent retirement.
Whether you have tough questions you need answering or you’re ready to take action, your union is the first source of information about your wages, super and working rights.
This is what we do – day in, day out – so you can trust your union to give you the right information at the right time.