Billions of dollars in super contributions go unpaid every year, so if you’ve never checked your super account before, now might be a good time.
Recently a girlfriend posted on social media that she was owed over $10,000 in super from a former boss, who had since shut up shop (money she may never see when she does eventually retire).
Responses from her circle of mates revealed she wasn’t alone, with one person commenting that, like her, they still hadn’t received their unpaid super money, with situations where an employer goes out of business sometimes harder to chase up.
Good news – the last analysis by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) revealed about 95% of super contributions were being paid by employers. The bad news – that left $2.79 billion in unpaid super1!
If you want to make sure you’re getting paid what you’re owed, here’s what you need to know and what you can do if something doesn’t look right (keeping in mind, the sooner you act, the better).
Who’s most at risk?
The ATO previously indicated that about 50% of super debts it deals with relate to insolvency (in other words, companies that don’t have the cash to meet their obligations)2.
On top of that, data from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission indicated non-payment of super was more likely to happen in certain industries (hospitality, construction and retail to name a few)3.
What your employer should be paying you
If you’re earning over $450 (before tax) a month, no less than 9.5% of your before-tax salary should generally be going into your super under the Superannuation Guarantee scheme.
If you’d like help crunching the numbers, give the ATO’s Estimate my super tool a go. It can provide you with an estimate of how much super your employer should have paid into your super account.
How can I check if I’m getting paid the super I’m owed?
Start by looking at your payslips and know that while super contributions may be listed on your payslip, this doesn’t always mean money has been deposited into your super account.
With that in mind, also check your super statements, call your super fund or log into your online account to see exactly what has been paid into your super. Note, super contributions are paid quarterly (at a minimum) even if your wages are paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly, which means super contributions paid by your employer might only be deposited into your account four times a year.
What should I do if something doesn’t look right?
If it looks like you haven’t been paid what you should’ve, speak to the person who handles the payroll at your work, as there may be a simple explanation.
If you’re not satisfied with what they tell you, you can lodge an unpaid super enquiry with the ATO. You’ll need to give your personal details, including your tax file number, the period relating to your enquiry and your employer’s details. You can also call the ATO on 13 10 20.
It’s worth contacting your super fund too, as your employer may have a contractual arrangement with your super fund, which means your super fund may be able to follow up any unpaid super on your behalf.
Please contact us on Phone 03 5221 7700 if you seek further assistance.
1 Australian Taxation Office (ATO) – Superannuation guarantee gap (figures related to 2015-16)
2, 3 The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) media release – Unpaid super – workers deserve better
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