Employers short-changing workers by withholding superannuation: Report

by HCA07 Dec 2016
Employers withheld at least $3.6 billion in superannuation payments to 2.4 million workers in 2013/14, according to new research.
 
This equated to about a third of workers who were not being paid part or all of their compulsory superannuation.

The report also showed employees under the age of 30 and workers in the construction, hospitality and cleaning industries are most likely to be short-changed superannuation.
 
Industry Super's director of public affairs Matthew Linden told the ABC that without the money going into their accounts, it means that they will have a poorer retirement.

“Most people would be making additional salary sacrifice contributions in the belief that they are going to improve their standard of living if retirement,” said Linden.

“It appears as if employers - some employers - are reducing their compulsory obligations, and the law currently allows it.

"There is several hundred million dollars a year in penalties that it issues to employers and it seems to be recovering about half of that.”
 
Moreover, ACTU President Ged Kearney said it should not be up to individual employees to chase their employer for entitlement owed.

“The fact that one in three workers miss out on superannuation that is owed to them shows we absolutely need a Senate Inquiry," she said.

"Employers who are dodging super obligations must be brought to heel and the ATO must be much better resourced to deal with breaches.”

“Given 2.4 million Australian workers are missing out on superannuation entitlements, those individual workers suffer and are short-changed, but our whole economy also suffers.

Kearney added that unions fight hard every day for back-payment of superannuation where employers try to avoid their obligations, but we can’t do it on our own.
 
“Prime Minister Turnbull must act now to close the loopholes and put a clear, enforceable penalty system in place for employers who rip off their employees,” said Kearney.

“The federal government’s huge funding cuts to the ATO and ASIC mean those regulators are just not resourced to manage the volume of unlawful breaches committed by employers.

“Young workers, workers on minimum wages and workers in insecure work are most likely to miss out on super owed to them.

“The amount of unpaid super grows every year. Without better monitoring and enforcement that amount will continue to grow, and employees with find themselves unable to fund their
retirements.”
 
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COMMENTS

  • by 7/12/2016 1:33:29 PM

    Are Employers short changing workers or is this a beat up by the Superannuation Industry?

    Based upon published statements by the authors, recommendations were geared at the delay in making payments to super funds ( under the SG Administration Act, an employer is only required to submit payments every 3 months) and having salary sacrificed amounts (under ATO rulings salary sacrificed amounts for super are counted as employer contributions for SGC purposes) counted as employee contributions. Whilst there is probably strong evidence to say that some small to medium business are underpaying or not meeting their SGC obligations, I think there might be some over reach by the authors of this report based upon these types of recommendations.

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