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How to spot a super thief

Construction, hospitality and cleaning workers most likely to be cheated out of super Photo Getty
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Most employees would be up in arms about money missing from their pay.

But what if they don’t know about it?

Superannuation thieves live among us, withholding what’s rightfully ours.
The problem is, many workers are unaware their employer is not making super contributions or if they know about it, are too fearful to report them.

Construction, hospitality and cleaning workers along with younger workers and low-income earners are the most likely to be getting ripped off, a joint report by Industry Super Australia and the Cbus fund has revealed.

Analysis of the main offenders shows small and medium businesses are least likely to pay the superannuation guarantee to their staff.

The superannuation guarantee requires employers to contribute at least 9.5 per cent (up from 9.25 per cent in 2014) to the superannuation accounts of every worker earning more than $450 a month.

ISA chief economist Stephen Anthony says workers who fear they are being duded on their super entitlements should speak up.

“It’s really important, it’s like the old saying, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’,” he says.

“You really need to recover anything that is owed to you as soon as possible. It’s good practice in terms of yourself and your employer that your entitlements are paid in full and when they’re due.

“It will certainly be costly for the employer if there is a delay and for you if you have to chase up large amounts.”

Shonky employers failed to pay at least $3.6 billion in superannuation contributions in 2013-14, the Overdue: Time to Take Action on Unpaid Super report found.

Small to medium sized businesses are the main offenders
Small to medium sized businesses are the main offenders

This means up to 30 per cent of workers were not being paid part or all of their compulsory super. 
Further, the average affected worker missed out on $1,489 or almost 4 months of superannuation contributions.

The report’s authors warn that unless action is taken, unpaid superannuation will top $66 billion by 2024 including lost earnings.

It literally pays to check your salary information regularly to ensure you’re not being cheated out of your super.

“Obviously you should see a contributions are being made on your behalf that equate to at least 9.5% of your salary, assuming you’re earning over $450 a month.,” Anthony says.

“Check your entitlements and if you haven’t been paid the correct super, you should contact your superfund to see how they can help.”

The Australia Tax Office also recommends talking to your employer if you believe you’re not being paid what you’re owed. Failing this, workers can lodge an enquiry and the ATO will investigate the employer.

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