Unpaid super getting worse, not better

Posted: Monday 22 October, 2018

New analysis of ATO data suggests the scourge of unpaid super is deteriorating with 2.98 million Australians being short-changed $5.9 billion in super entitlements in 2015-16 up 220,000 employees and $300 million compared to two years earlier.

For the one in three workers eligible for Super Guarantee (SG) affected the average underpayment stood at $1,994 or the equivalent of $77 per fortnightly pay.

The new analysis by Industry Super Australia has revealed the hotspots for unpaid super in each State with workers in outer metropolitan and regional areas most at risk.

Further detailed investigation of risk factors suggests rogue employers in these areas are exploiting younger workers, those in part-time and casual work and blue-collar jobs.

  • Workers under the age of 30 are a third more likely to miss out on their legal entitlement compared to older workers;
  • Over 45% of labourers, machinery operators and drivers have collectively missed out on more than $820 million making it to their super accounts;
  • Part-time and casual workers earning less than $30,000 are a third more likely to miss out on super compared to full-time workers and those on higher salaries.

Industry Super Australia (ISA) chief executive, Bernie Dean said it was apparent some employers are taking advantage of outdated super laws coupled with lower skilled and new workforce entrants who are less likely to know their entitlements or ask questions.

“It’s obvious that the rise of insecure employment is amplifying the already widespread problem of unpaid super.

 “This money should be in workers accounts, not on the ledger of an employer that’s taking advantage of lax laws and a cop-free environment.

“Despite new laws before the Parliament that should improve reporting of super, employers are still under no obligation to actually pay super contributions at the time they are disclosed on payslips.

“The number one policy to fix the rip offs is to require employers to pay super at the same time as wages and salary, rather than allow the money to be used for other things for up to four months.

“Most employers do the right thing and many employers already pay super fortnightly or monthly, but the time has come to make regular payment of super mandatory, Mr Dean concluded.

A copy of the full report is available here.

Media contact: Phil Davey 0414 867 188

Industry Super Australia provides policy, research and advocacy on behalf of 16 not-for-profit Industry SuperFunds who are the custodians of the retirement savings of six million Australians.