Capturing the SG in the gig economy

Having superannuation attaching to work performed rather than employment may be the answer to dealing with the so-called ‘gig economy’, according to a Super Review roundtable.

The roundtable, conducted at last week’s Conference of Major Superannuation Funds (CMSF) in Brisbane, concluded that there was a danger that the challenge of the ‘gig economy’ and superannuation would become too great if the situation was not addressed now.

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) chief executive, Eva Scheerlinck said that, at the extreme, there was a danger that mandatory nature of superannuation could be undermined if the industry did not do something about it.

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Mercer sales leader, Investments and Financial Services, Brian Zanker suggested that there needed to be a capture mechanism which ensured that superannuation was accounted for from the first dollar earned.

Further, he suggested that the most appropriate agency to handle that capture would probably be the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

“The Australian system is based on an element of mandated super and for the gig economy you have to get some sort of capture mechanism to keep that mandated element there, you cannot allow it to slip,” he said.

Willis Towers Watson head of Retirement Income, Nick Callil said he believed the manifestation of the ‘gig economy’ should be viewed in the same context as the self-employed.

“The self-employed have been an issue forever and there has been little discussion about how and why they should come inside the net as well,” he said.

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The ATO are the missing link when it comes to lots of issues currently being experienced by the current superannuation system. The have all the data required for cross checking and verifying things such as an individuals earnings per employer to ensure things such as SG compliance by employers This would negate the checking of the current $450 per month requirement before super is payable. I can see how the government would be reluctant to want to do this as it would be an administrative nightmare and would need to be linked to current super fund reporting to the ATO. It would make a great super system even better however and considering the Funds held in super are into the trillions, It needs to be done.

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