The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has welcomed the expected passage today of legislation aimed at ensuring small businesses comply with their legal obligation to pay superannuation for their workers.
Commenting on the effect of the legislation, AIST chief executive, Eva Scheerlinck said that for too long some businesses had been able to avoid their obligations to pay super because of outmoded laws with the result that workers had suffered, while non-compliant employers had had unfair advantage over the majority of employers who were good corporate citizens.
The new legislation – which will come into force by 1 July, 2019 - will mean that employers with less than 20 employees will have to comply with ‘real-time’ reporting of wage and superannuation information to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
Previously, real-time reporting only applied to larger employers, while small businesses were able to take as long three months to make and report super payments.
The AIST noted that, importantly, the new legislation would also shift the burden of identifying and collecting unpaid super from individual workers and ex-employees to the ATO and that, up until now, the ATO had largely relied on employees to make complaints to alert them to the non-payment of super – at a very real risk to the jobs of the employees who do this. This measure will apply to all employers.
“We congratulate the Government on adopting and implementing this measure which is extremely important for vulnerable workers,” Scheerlinck said.
Scheerlinck noted that recent research by AIST member fund Cbus had identified an estimated shortfall of $3.6 billion each year in the super that employers pay.