Industry Super Australia says that if one of the nation’s largest finance sector employers is not meeting its superannuation obligations to its employees, then it can happen to anyone.
According to news reports, thousands of Commonwealth Bank employees, stretching back to 2009, may not have been paid the full 9.5 per cent superannuation guarantee (SG), costing workers millions of dollars.
News of the potential underpayment, identified by the Finance Sector Union, comes barely a week after the Commonwealth Bank posted a record-breaking $4.9 billion half-year profit.
Industry Super public affairs director Matt Linden said: “It is startling that a business of this size may be getting their superannuation payments wrong”.
“Workers employed by small businesses are most at risk of being underpaid, but if a major bank like the CBA is getting their super obligations wrong, it can happen to anyone.”
“Employees, no matter who they’re working for, should take the time to check their super and contact their fund, the tax office, or relevant union if they think they’re being short-changed,” he said.
Under Australian law, every worker over the age of 18 earning more than $450 (gross) a month is entitled to the 9.5 per cent SG.
But a joint Industry Super and Cbus report released in December revealed that almost one third (or 2.4 million) of entitled workers missed out on their superannuation in 2013-14. For the average worker this amounted to $1,489 or fourmonths’ worth of super.
Further analysis of ATO data found that as a result of unpaid superannuation people on the cusp of retirement, aged 60-64, with salaries ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 had $35,089 or almost 40 per cent less than others.
Industry Super Australia has said increasing the frequency of employer contributions from quarterly to at least monthly is essential along with better compliance systems to detect underpayments quickly before they get out of hand.
The Commonwealth Bank has issued a statement saying that it is investigating the claims and will rectify any issues that it identifies.
A Senate inquiry into unpaid SG is currently underway. Members of the public can share their experiences. Submissions are due 1 March. Details at www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/SuperannuationGuarantee
Matt Linden is available for interview
Media contactPhil Davey 0414 867 188