It’s easy to assume your super is being paid to you, after all, you receive your pay slip and it shows your super guarantee (SG). But SG isn’t generally paid to your super fund in real time. There’s a requirement for SG to be paid quarterly, which makes it difficult for the everyday person to keep track of. And just because your pay slip shows an amount of SG, it doesn’t always mean that the amount has been deposited to your super fund on time, if at all.
The overwhelming majority of employers are honest and meet these obligations. Having said that, a recent report from Industry Super Australia has identified that more than a quarter of Australian workers are owed more than $5 billion in unpaid super for 2018/19 alone. Those under 30 and on low incomes have been disproportionately affected. The total super debt owed by businesses across Australia is estimated at an eyewatering $28.8 billion.
These underpayments are worsened by compounding (or should I say, lack of), which can mean a huge difference to your final retirement balance. It can also cause any insurance held inside of your super fund to lapse if there are insufficient funds for the premiums or if the account is considered “inactive”, a consequence of recent legislation change.
So what can you do to ensure your super is being paid?
For starters, don’t rely on your pay slips. It’s best to check with your super fund directly. You can check your statements, call your super fund customer relations team, or check the transaction history via online access to your fund.
If you’re unsure of the amount of super that’s owed to you, you can also get in touch with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
If you think your super has been underpaid, address if promptly with your employer to rectify the issue as quickly as possible. If they don’t put right the shortfall, you can make a complaint directly to the ATO who will chase your employer for any unpaid contributions plus a general interest charge and an administration component.
The situation becomes a lot more complicated if the business goes into administration, so it’s always best to identify any underpayments soon. If the company has been de-registered, the ATO is constrained in taking any further action and then it becomes a civil matter.
This also highlights the importance of receiving good Financial Advice and having your plan reviewed regularly.