How to make sure your employer is paying you the correct super

New laws coming into effect from 1 July could increase the chances of your employer failing to pay employees their proper entitlements. Here’s how to make sure you’re getting what you’re owed.

Your super is meant to be the backbone of your retirement, so it’s imperative that your employer is contributing the correct amount on your behalf each pay cycle.

But from 1 July, the $450 minimum monthly threshold for compulsory employer super contributions will be removed. The move means hundreds of thousands of workers will be eligible to receive super, many for the first time.

But there are concerns that despite the new rules, not every employer will pay.

Read: ‘Middle Australians’ missing out on their best possible retirement

Aware Super group executive Steve Travis told The Australian said that although he welcomed the removal of the $450 threshold, he expects incidents of non-compliance from employers to rise after 1 July.

“We know about 300,000 Australians have been missing out on super because of this threshold,” he says.

It’s not always through malice or greed that employers don’t pay the right super. The system of entitlements is vast and complex, particularly for new employees.

“It’s important to note that the vast majority of employers are trying to do the right thing and pay their staff their full super entitlement,” Mr Travis says.

What to look for

The first thing you’ll want to check is your payslip. The amount being contributed to super should be marked clearly and should be 10 per cent of gross pay excluding payments such as overtime.

If these items are listed on your payslip, check with your super fund that the amount has been paid. This can usually be done by logging into your super account online.

Read: Super funds required to help make your nest egg last

“Log into your super account – your super fund should have an app that makes this process very easy – and go to your transaction history,” Mr Travis says.

“Check that the super payments you’ve received match up with the amounts showing on your pay slips.

“Employers can pay super as infrequently as every three months, so you may need to crosscheck your super transaction history with older pay slips.”

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has a handy online guide to help check your entitlements and eligibility.

Read: Use concessional contributions to grow your super faster

If you think you’ve spotted a discrepancy, speak with your employer first as an accounting error may have been made.

But if that doesn’t get you anywhere you may need to contact the ATO to report your employer. The ATO can also be contacted anonymously on 1800 060 062.

Industry Super Australia (ISA) estimates that the total amount of unpaid super Australian employees are owed each year is around $5 billion.

It puts the blame squarely on lax enforcement from the government and the ATO, which it says recovers only around 15 per cent of what is owed by employers.

“Along with our federal politicians who could easily fix this problem at its source, the ATO needs to do better than just recovering a dismal 15 per cent of the unpaid super bill each year,” says Bernie Dean, ISA chief executive.

“It is little wonder the regulator performs so badly considering the auditor-general’s finding that the ATO does little proactive enforcement, instead relying on workers to make a report and do all the heavy lifting.”

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