Government cracks down on unpaid super

30 March 2023
| By Laura Dew |
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Legislation is to be introduced to Parliament this week to enshrine a right to superannuation payments in the National Employment Standards. 

In a joint release from Minister for Workplace Relations, Tony Burke; Treasurer Jim Chalmers; and Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones, it said this would protect more workers from super underpayment.

The ATO’s most recent estimate of unpaid superannuation indicates that workers lost $3.4 billion in unpaid super in 2019–20.
The measure was part of the Protecting Worker Entitlements Bill. 

Currently, workers who were not covered by a modern award or an enterprise agreement containing a term requiring an employer to make super contributions were reliant on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) intervening to recover lost super and receive their rightful entitlements.

Under the changes, workers would be able to take direct legal action for recovery of unpaid super. 

Burke said: “Superannuation theft undermines the efforts of Australian workers to build a financially secure retirement.

“It is simply not good enough that employees are missing out on their superannuation. No employee should have their retirement incomes sabotaged by dodgy or negligent employers.

“This legislation will increase the number of employees who will have the right to directly pursue superannuation owed to them. Employers may also face civil penalties if they do not comply with the entitlement.”

Chalmers said: “We want to make sure Australian workers receive and benefit from the superannuation contributions they’re entitled to.

“This is part of our broader plan to ensure the superannuation system is the best version of itself.

“Our Government will do everything we can to protect super and help deliver a dignified retirement to hard-working Australians.”

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