Tony Abbott’s war on business red tape is set to claim millions of unintended victims, with the nation’s workers losing the right to receive details of compulsory super contributions on their payslips.
The controversial proposal – contained in draft legislation aimed at cutting the regulatory burden on employers – has come under fire from trustees of super funds.
If the change is implemented, Australian employers will have no obligation to disclose the amount of super they pay to an employee on payslips.
The only way that workers will know if money is going into their super accounts will be to check statements issued by their funds.
The same disclosure problem will also apply to workers who have arranged to sacrifice part of their gross salary into super.
Tom Garcia, the chief executive of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, believes the change might be an unintended effect of the crackdown on red tape.
“We hope this is an oversight – the government needs to quickly fix it,” he said.
“Most employees would expect employers to tell them when a super guarantee payment goes into their fund and how much it is.”
Mr Garcia said the AIST was not opposed to the principle of reducing the paper burden on small businesses, but that employees should expect transparent reporting of their earnings and other remuneration benefits on payslips.
He warned that the proposal could trigger a rise in complaints to the Australian Tax Office, which has a responsibility to investigate reports of employers underpaying on super entitlements.
“That would add to unnecessary costs to be borne by taxpayers,” he said.
Research published earlier this month by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia found that Australian workers were missing out on at least $2.5 billion of mandatory super payments a year.
Industries that employed a higher proportion of casual and contract staff – such as the construction industry – were most likely to short-change workers on super, the report found.
Mr Garcia said it was important that workers were engaged with their superannuation and that relaxing the disclosure requirements on employers would lead to vulnerable workers losing track of their entitlements.
“When people rely on the Tax Office to retrieve their unpaid super, there can be massive delays – it can take up to two years for money to reach an employee’s super account,” he said.
“Employees are more likely to resolve any problems earlier if changes in their super payments are recorded on their payslips.”
The New Daily is seeking comment from Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.