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Unpaid Super: Who’s affected, which electorates and when will government act?

  Published: 05 Jul 2017

Phil Gallagher to share expert analysis at Sydney symposium

The man whose innovative analysis of Tax Office data found one third of Australian workers are missing out on their super, and prompted a Senate inquiry, is speaking at a high level research forum in Sydney today.

Former federal treasury Retirement Income Modelling Taskforce director and now Industry Super Australia special adviser Phil Gallagher will present his analysis to the 25th Colloquium of Superannuation Researchers at the University of New South Wales.

Using an ATO data file, Gallagher conservatively calculated a compulsory superannuation shortfall of $5.6 billion that affected 32 per cent of entitled workers at an average of $2,025 each in 2013/14. The ATO has failed to provide its own figures. 

The final Senate inquiry report, released May 2017, found the ATO’s approach to unpaid super ‘inadequate’ and “problematic”, and, in 15 of 32 recommendations, targeted its monitoring and compliance efforts.

Gallagher says unpaid super must be dealt with.

“It creates an uneven playing field for businesses, drives up pension costs, and is leaving hard-working people tens of thousands of dollars short at retirement,” he said.

At today’s symposium, Phil Gallagher will discuss:

  1. Groups most likely to be affected by unpaid SG (younger, lower skilled, lower income workers)
  2. Impact on final retirement savings (tens of thousands of dollars short of those paid their SG)
  3. Federal electorates most impacted by unpaid SG (NT, Queensland and parts of Sydney)
  4. Findings of the senate inquiry
  5. Government and ATO response to those findings

Industry Super Australia is calling on government to:

  • Remove the $450 threshold on SG eligibility
  • Close the loophole that allows voluntary contributions to count towards an employer’s SG obligations
  • Require monthly rather than quarterly SG payments to align with pay cycles
  • Review the definition of Ordinary Time Earnings for the purpose of SG calculations
  • Extend unpaid SG liabilities to related corporate entities
  • Review ATO resourcing to ensure it can undertake effective compliance activities
  • Extend Single Touch payroll to all businesses regardless of size

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.

Phil Gallagher’s presentation on unpaid SG is at 11am today (Thursday 6 July), Colombo Theatre B, UNSW Kensington. A copy of his paper is available on request.

Phil is available for interview. Media contact: Phil Davey 0414 867 188 

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.

*The above material, whilst correct at the time of publication may include references or statements which are no longer current.

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