A Bill introduced into federal Parliament today that would align super guarantee (SG) payments to the wage cycle, and abolish the monthly $450 threshold, has been welcomed by Industry Super Australia.
The Private Member’s Bill, introduced into the House of Representatives by the Nick Xenophon Team’s Rebekha Sharkie, follows recent Tax Office revelations that Australian workers have been short-changed their super by a staggering $17.1 billion since 2009.
Industry Super public affairs director, Matt Linden, said: “The unpaid super of millions of hard-working Australians should be a top priority for the government”.
“Every month that goes by without action is costing workers hundreds of millions in unpaid super”.
“Unpaid super is the number one issue in superannuation today – it is leaving Australians short of savings at retirement and placing extra pressure on the age pension”.
“The Bill introduced today by Rebekha Sharkie would introduce significant new safeguards as soon as 1 July 2018”.
“In particular the alignment of super and wage payments is essential, and the $450 threshold makes no sense with more of the workforce, particularly women, in part time and casual work”.
“These measures will benefit part time and casual workers, and women whose super savings are falling seriously short at retirement”.
An Industry Super analysis of 2013/14 ATO data revealed an SG shortfall of $5.6 billion, affecting 32 per cent of entitled workers at an average of $2,025 each in 2013/14, across the nation.
In Ms Sharkie’s home state of South Australia, 168,000 workers (29 per cent) were underpaid their super entitlements at an average of $1,698 each.
“The Xenophon Team’s Bill represents real action for workers across the country,” said Linden.
The Bill also seeks to: close the loophole which allows employers to count salary sacrifice towards their SG obligations; expand Member Contribution Statements; and give the Fair Work Ombudsman greater authority to recover unpaid super.
Employers are legally required to pay 9.5 per cent of ordinary time earnings in superannuation towards every employee over the age of 18 earning more than $450 (gross) a month. This is the Super Guarantee.
Matt Linden is available for interview. Media contact: Lis Bowdler 0412 112 374.
Industry Super Australia provides policy, research and advocacy on behalf of 15 not-for-profit Industry SuperFunds who are the custodians of the retirement savings of five million Australians.