Each year in Australia, employers are failing to pay billions of dollars in superannuation to their workers yet we don’t hear much about this. Why is it that we do not treat unpaid super like wage theft?
Figures recently released by Industry Super Australia (ISA) found that millions of Australian workers are missing out on their super guarantee entitlements. The research involved a review of ATO data. It concluded that in 2016-2017 around 2.85 million Australian workers eligible for super were missing out on compulsory superannuation payments to the tune of $5.94 billion.*
Recent media attention has rightly focused on underpayment or outright non-payment of wages to workers but in many cases the media misses the issue of unpaid super. This can lead to workers missing out on funds for their retirement.
Cath Bowtell, Chief Executive, Industry Fund Services (IFS) says, “Every dollar that a worker misses out on in their super is a dollar the worker misses out on in their retirement. It’s an important issue given that people are living longer and super is most often their main source of retirement income”
One of the services performed by IFS is the collection of unpaid super on behalf of a number of industry super funds. Last financial year, IFS collected almost $164m from 36,152 employers on behalf of 243,658 members in the 2018/19FY.
Ms Bowtell says that in IFS’s experience, “Most employers do not set out to fall behind with super payments so early intervention is critical.
“Fund trustees are often the first to know when payments are missed, so the earlier action is taken, the more likely the debt will be recovered with a simple phone call.”
Central to IFS‘s approach in helping chase up members’ super entitlements to maximise funds available for their retirement, is protecting relationships between funds and employers. Using proven practices and highly specialised skills, IFS manages collections from start to finish, taking over the ‘difficult’ conversations and collecting any overdue payments.
How you as a member can ensure you’re receiving your entitlements
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 login to your super account, so that you can monitor payments 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 speaking to your employer about any discrepancies.