Unpaid super not just a gig economy issue

While the gig economy has caused problems for workers trying to increase their superannuation, unpaid super is not just tied to gig economy jobs, said chief executive of Industry Fund Services (IFS) Cath Bowtell.

“Gig economy” workers, who represent 1.1 million Australians working for unincorporated businesses and do not meet the traditional definition of an employee, might still be eligible for compulsory super.

Bowtell said while the gig economy would have implications on workers and Australia’s retirement system, many of those jobs could still be eligible for compulsory superannuation.

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“We are kidding ourselves if we think non-payment of superannuation is confined to casual or contract labour working short engagements for multiple employers,” said Bowtell. 

Bowtell said the unpaid super problem was as much an enforcement problem as it was a law reform problem, and one that could be addressed by funds taking action as quickly as possible upon discovery of unpaid super.

The Australian Tax Office estimated underpayments of $17.1 billion in compulsory super entitlements to Australian workers between 2009 and 2015.

Bowtell said while the ATO would play a role, there was a lot more that super funds could do to chase unpaid super and educate their members and employers about their rights and obligations.

“Fund trustees are often the first to know when payments are missed, so the earlier action is taken, the more likely the debt will be recovered with a simple phone call,” she said.




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