Three million workers lose an average of $1700 a year in unpaid superannuation, according to a new report by Industry Super Australia.
ISA said this could leave workers with up to $60,000 less at retirement and that employers tipped $5 billion less into workers’ super than they should have done in 2018-2019.
Over the past six years, the average annual amount of unpaid super has been at least $4.5 billion.
ISA’s report shows young workers, low-income earners and people working in construction, transport, trades, hospitality and accommodation are most likely to be underpaid super.
The report found “dodgy” bosses have exploited lax enforcement and loose laws that allow them to pay super quarterly rather than paying it at the same time as wages.
ISA chief executive Bernie Dean said the government should fix the problem by introducing laws that require employers to pay super and wages simultaneously.
“Most employers are doing the right thing, but they are being undercut by competitors who are getting away with daylight robbery,” he said.
“Paying super with wages is the only way to get workers their money and level the playing field for business.”
ISA said receiving super payments at a different time to their wages makes it difficult for workers to keep track of their money, allowing payments to fall through the cracks.
How to check if you’ve been underpaid super
The simplest way to check whether your employer has paid your super is to contact your super fund or check your super account online.
Your super fund should be able to provide you with up-to-date information on all payments made to your account.
Most funds will allow you to log into your account and check your balance.
You can also check your balance through the ATO by following these steps:
- Go to my.gov.au
- Log in, or create an account
- Link your myGov account to the ATO’s online service
- Select ‘Super’
- Check how much you have been paid against what has been promised in your payslips.
This will show you details of all your super accounts, including any you have lost or forgotten about.
It will also allow you to find any super being held on your behalf.
From this point, you can consolidate your super by moving it all into a single fund.
Doing this is free, allows you to pick the best super fund for your needs, and makes it easier to keep track of your super balance.
For more tips on how to consolidate your super, check out Moneysmart, run by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
If you’ve recently opened a new super account, it could take up to six months to appear on myGov.
For more guidance on how to search for lost super, visit the ATO website.
What you can do if you’ve been underpaid
If you believe your employer has not paid your super, has been underpaying you, has paid late, or has paid to an incorrect super fund, you can talk to your employer and ask them to resolve the issue.
If the issue continues, you can make a report to the ATO using its online tool.
To file an unpaid super inquiry with the ATO, you will need to provide:
- Your personal details (including your tax file number)
- The period of your inquiry
- Your employer’s details (including their Australian business number).
Note: The ATO can only investigate an accusation of unpaid super for a certain period once the employer’s due date for lodgement has passed.
The New Daily is owned by Industry Super Holdings