Recent media reports have shone a spotlight on Tax Office estimates of underpayments of $17.1 billion in compulsory super entitlements to Australian workers from 2009 to 2015.
Impacted Australians will end their working lives with lower account balances in their super than they should have. That is potentially a lot of money they won’t have to help them fund their retirements!
The shortchanging by employers has a variety of causes, including company insolvency and the cash economy. Some are accidental, some are by design. According to Industry Funds Services, which collects unpaid super on behalf of a number of industry funds, many employers put off paying super to help their cash flow – effectively rendering the employees as lenders to the business.
The introduction of Single Touch Payroll - due to come into effect from July 2018 - is expected to see greater compliance in regards to super payments. Under Single Touch Payroll employers with more than 20 employees will report to the ATO each time they pay wages and each time they pay super. At the same time, super funds will report on whether a super payment has been deposited to the employee’s account. As employers move across to STP, the ATO will have real time data on whether or not super has been paid.
However, the vast majority of employers who don’t pay, pay late, or under-estimate the amount of super are small businesses with less than 20 employees. Legislation is before the parliament to extend Single Touch Payroll to this group.
How to ensure your super is being paid
Check your super account at least once a year
The easiest way to find out if the deposits shown on your payslips match what was paid to your account is to:
- Check your most recent super statement
- Call your super fund, or
- Set up an online logon to your super account, so that you can monitor payment received throughout the year.
What can I do if my super hasn’t been paid?
Call your super fund or your union if you are not comfortable in speaking to your employer about any discrepancies.
Some industry super funds take a proactive approach, and actively follow up their members’ unpaid super such as Industry Fund Services who currently represents 11 industry funds. IFS’s unpaid super team has recovered $822 million in the last 5 years, and more than $1.7 billion on behalf of members since their operation was established in October 1991.
Industry Funds Credit Control (IFCC) is owned by Industry Fund Services Limited (IFS), ABN 54 007 016 195, AFSL 232514