Turnbull gov't to introduce a bill that will ensure employers are paying workers' super

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Office workers head to Flinders Street Station in central Melbourne February 10, 2011.
Office workers head to Flinders Street Station in central Melbourne February 10, 2011. Reuters/Mick Tsikas

The Turnbull government is set to legislate Superannuation Guarantee Cross‑Agency Working Group’s recommendation to end an excuse that could be utilised by employers to short‑change employees who make salary sacrifice contributions into their superannuation accounts. A bill will be introduced into Parliament this year.

Hon Kelly O’Dwyer, minister for revenue and financial services, has revealed that the Turnbull government will introduce a bill that would guarantee a worker’s salary sacrifice contributions do not cut the superannuation guarantee obligation of their employers. “If Australians are to continue to have confidence in the integrity of the superannuation system, we must ensure employers are paying workers their full entitlements, whether they are wages or superannuation,” the minister said in a media release.

The report of the Superannuation Guarantee Cross‑Agency Working Group, Superannuation Guarantee Non‑compliance, includes several practical recommendations to improve the compliance of employers with their superannuation guarantee obligations. The government has also welcomed the Working Group’s key outcome, which has been strengthening cross-agency collaboration to improve Australia’s superannuation system.

The ATO has been focusing more not only on Superannuation Guarantee compliance but also on information sharing across agencies committed to sustained focus on protecting the rights of employees. It also ensures a level playing field for employers.

The Turnbull government is considering the remaining recommendations of the Working Group report to guarantee that any measures progressed will perk up compliance without causing burdens to employers. Employers paid over $89 billion in superannuation contributions for their employees in 2015-16.

But based on data from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), non-payment of super is increasing in the country. At least 6.5 percent or 690,000 workers are affected annually, the Sydney Morning Herald notes.

Workers can determine if their employer is honouring their superannuation commitment through an annual report being sent at the end of the financial year. It details all of the employee’s contributions for the previous financial year and his overall account balance. It also reports any fees incurred.

Employees can also check with their super fund directly or register with the my.gov.au website. Workers can link their ATO account to myGov to be able to see the details of their super and get access to multiple superannuation accounts that they may want to consolidate.

The Working Group was established in December 2016. It is comprised of senior representatives from the ATO, the Department of Employment, the Treasury, ASIC and APRA.

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