A 'Super' idea backed by industry Super groups

21 Jul 2020

Posted September 11, 2017

Industry groups are showing strong support for a Nick Xenophon Team Private Member’s Bill to help Australian workers fight for billions of dollars’ worth of unpaid superannuation.

Industry Super Australia, Cbus and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees have all welcomed the Bill’s intent to align employees’ super entitlements with wage payment regulations.

Industry Super Australia said the Bill, introduced today by NXT Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie, would introduce “significant new safeguards”.

Cbus also welcomed the Bill, saying the proposed changes would “help address the widespread and serious problem of unpaid super which affects hundreds of thousands of workers in the construction and building industry”.

And the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) making superannuation a universal entitlement would create a simpler system for everyone.

“All Australians deserve the right to a decent retirement, so we fully support the removal of barriers that prevent them from saving enough,” said AIST Chief Executive Eva Scheerlinck.

“This Private Members Bill would empower people to have their unpaid superannuation entitlements dealt with quickly and fairly, and it’s long overdue,” Nick said.

NXT’s Fair Work Amendment (Recovering Unpaid Superannuation) Bill 2017 seeks to strengthen the operation of Australia’s superannuation system through a number of provisions by:

  • Including superannuation contributions within the National Employment Standards. This would give the Fair Work Ombudsman the authority to pursue recovery of unpaid employer superannuation contributions. Employees would also have a direct legal avenue to recover unpaid superannuation;
  • Enabling employees to more effectively track if and when superannuation contributions are made to them by their employers, by requiring employers to provide notice of when contributions are made (or not paid) for each pay period;
  • Removing the loophole which currently allows employers to potentially claim employee contributions made via salary-sacrifice as employer contributions;
  • Removing the exemption that currently exists for employers that allows them to not to make superannuation contributions to employees who are paid less than $450 in wages in a calendar month;
  • Requiring the Commissioner for Taxation to conduct a review of employers’ compliance with their superannuation payment obligations;
  • Creating a duty for trustees of superannuation entities to take reasonable steps to notify their members (within 28 days and by any means) when it could reasonably have expected their member to have received a contribution from an employer, but they did not;
  • Expanding the information that superannuation providers are required to provide to the Commissioner for Taxation in their annual Member Information Statements to better inform Government policy;
  • Removing restrictions for employees on their choice of Super Fund.

According to Industry Super Australia and Cbus, there are at least 2.4 million workers in Australia who have been underpaid their super entitlements by about $3.6 billion.

That figure is expected balloon out to $66 billion by 2024.

“Unpaid superannuation robs the taxpayer,” Rebekha said.

“Superannuation is our national retirement savings so it affects everyone.

“In my own electorate of Mayo, there were 12,896 employees who had been underpaid their Super last year, missing out on an average $1748 per person per year.

“This amounts to a staggering 28% of all employees in my electorate who are entitled to employer-paid superannuation contributions, but are then underpaid those entitlements.”

NXT’s Bill was compiled after examining the submissions and evidence from the Industry Super Australia and CBUS report Overdue: Time For Action on Unpaid Super and the Senate Inquiry report Superbad-wage Theft and Non-compliance of the Superannuation Guarantee.

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