Government’s super amnesty to pay $588 million in unpaid super

Around 393,000 Australians will receive unexpected windfalls in coming weeks.

Macro Photography of the horsemen on the 10 Dollar Australia banknote

Keep an eye on your bank account this week, as you may receive an unexpected deposit.

Whether you’re working or fully retired, you may have been underpaid super without even knowing it.

But the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and the federal government know it and have given Aussie businesses a chance to make good through the superannuation guarantee amnesty program.

For many who have been underpaid, the first they’ll know of it will be a deposit of up to $1500 added to their super fund.

Some may receive more, some less, but the amnesty is expected to pay around 393,000 workers past and present up to $588 million in unpaid super.

Money repaid as part of the amnesty includes about $440 million to super funds, including $132 million in late payment offsets and 10 per cent interest for each year the payment was outstanding, says a Small Caps report.

Another $33 million will be refunded through agreed payment plans.

And this, according to some, is a drop in the ocean.

It is estimated that workers are shortchanged more than $3 billion in unpaid super each year, leading to calls for harsher penalties for those employers.

Unpaid or underpaid amounts could date back all the way to 1992 when superannuation started.

The money will be put directly into workers’  super funds; retirees will receive a bank deposit.

The federal government is effectively granting a reprieve for businesses that have underpaid employees and giving them the opportunity to make good.

It seems the ‘guilt trip’ took a bit of time to work on some businesses, with around 55 per cent of those that confessed to not making compulsory payments applying in the last week of the amnesty.

An amazing 7000 businesses applied on the final day, ensuring that payments made before the cut-off were tax deductible.

Any companies that haven’t participated in the amnesty but are discovered to have underpaid superannuation face severe penalties.

The amnesty aimed to reunite “Australians with money that is rightfully theirs, making sure every dollar that is owed to workers goes back to them”, said Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Senator Jane Hume.

Have you received an unexpected windfall?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.



    To make a comment, please register or login
    28th Sep 2020
    This shows once again that private industry cannot be trusted. Underpaid staff wages, underpaid casuals, and now massively underpaid super! And Prime Minister Scumbag wants to further deregulate private industry, presumably indifferent to the current fraudulent or at the very least indifferent practices prevalent in many workplaces. The proposed removal of the tightened credit regulations recommended by the recent Royal Commission is the latest example, removing hard fought regulation so necessary in the obviously corrupt credit. What hope, the average worker in today's Australia! industry.
    28th Sep 2020
    Scumbag kills your comments immediately, use of abuse is stupid.
    You should know better. Also governments any government red blue or green, cannot know the scruples or the unscrupulousness of private organisations, some are crooked or greedy or simply stupid, it appears that the government at the moment is finding out, if you are of the ALP to left side of things remember that your unions also get donations and funding from Superannuation companies, why would that be, or better, what do they donate for, into union coffers, who is the bunny there?

    What hope you ask?

    Well the ALP is no hope or help, neither are their wealthy Unions, the rank and file forgotten.
    Albo's new idea, we won't disclose costing for policy, at the next election, once again we get an alternative Party, that is to frightened to let us know... what the costings are, or that they have , as Bill Shorten showed last year, they had NO IDEA?
    28th Sep 2020
    Buggsie, a quick check shows that just 13% of workers are employed by the Public Sector which leaves the remaining 87% employed in the private sector.

    The entire economy is based on the private sector as it is in most high income earning countries. If you would prefer a public service state then look to North Korea and the like to see just how well that works. Even China as a private sector these days!

    As for the under/over paying of employees'wages and therefore super, it is not very surprising given that employment awards are so complicated running to many hundreds of pages that even a reasonable person cannot hope to know every word. There are so many exceptions, add ons and 'special' rates all demanded by unions that even the employee probably doesn't know what they should be being paid. Yes there may be unscrupulous employers but the vast majority are treating employees fairly and make honest mistakes.

    You could also tar all unions with the same corrupt activities as the CFMEU. Even the unions and public sector are not immune to illegal activity!
    28th Sep 2020
    Thanks Buggsy, couldn't have put it better, word for word if i tried hard even! Comment is so true, sadly! Cost of living keeps increasing while wages/income earners work harder & get nowhere & ripped off to boot! About time something was done tho I'm guessing it will still be based on trust to a degree & many big businesses will slip thru the cracks & continue to get away with ripping off workers!
    Scumbag & his cronies want us to be a 3rd world country & sooner the better in their eyes I'm sure!
    28th Sep 2020
    "As for the under/over paying of employees'wages and therefore super, it is not very surprising given that employment awards are so complicated running to many hundreds of pages that even a reasonable person cannot hope to know every word."

    That's not an excuse, and with super it's pretty basic to calculate the required supper amount.

    This under paying or non-payment of super has been going on for years, particularly with the younger ones who don't have the understanding of the system. Employers, that is, the smaller type with a handful or so of employees don't pay on purpose, they think the young ones won't know. Just like my daughter 17 YEARS AGO, her first job and her boss was not paying super at all. When I became involved it was over two years worth, it was reported, he was investigated and had to pay my daughter's super, ALL his previous employees and a penalty. But without me asking the question he probably would have gotten away with it.
    28th Sep 2020
    Sorry KSS, that comment was meant for John, not you, the one about the LP Policies.
    28th Sep 2020
    One can easily see from the comments who is hanging entirely on the Govt's teats. For ever moaning and never getting enough - and never a question "have I put anything in?"
    28th Sep 2020
    I am expecting the Normal Super co contribution soon. Might get another payment as well. not sure if I am entitled to more. pretty sure my employers have been doing the right thing.
    28th Sep 2020
    You can easily work it out by matching the deductions on your payslips with the deposits in your superfund.
    28th Sep 2020
    Never had super since 1992, so I'm left out of this tragedy.
    28th Sep 2020
    I’m still waiting for the the ATO/Government to pay me co-contribution for two FYs. It’s only about $700 in total but every bit counts in accumulating super. What really annoys me is that I don’t get any compensation of loss of interest as a result of delayed payment.
    28th Sep 2020
    They pay very quickly. Unless you have investigated the matter and have been told you will receive the contribution don't expect it to turn up magically.

    Maybe you aren't eligible for the co-contribution.
    28th Sep 2020
    This is good news for workers. Far too many businesses have not done the right thing. Many workers have been aware that Super has not been paid by the employer on their behalf but have been too concerned about keeping their jobs to make a fuss. The scale of the problem, however astounds me.
    28th Sep 2020
    Well said!
    28th Sep 2020
    The scale of the problem is huge. Only after I left various places of employment and knew that I was not returning did I query my superannuation. People working in the public sector or larger private organizations do not seem to understand - make waves and you will probably not get any more hours no matter how right you might be.
    28th Sep 2020
    Well, John you call somebody out for using the word "scumbag" but then you abuse the ALP by saying they didn't have "any" costing done for the last election. I can't remember the last time the LNP costed ANY election with any accuracy. I also have to go a long way back to remember what the LNP detailed policy was too. You are falling into the trap of using colourful language against a political party that is just as harmful as personal abuse. Look at what Clive Palmer did to the ALP push at the last Federal Election. Keep politics out of this kind of discussion, please.
    28th Sep 2020
    I worked in the public sector, every fortnight my payslip showed exactly not only how much I earned, how much tax was paid, how much was deposited into my super account, both the Superannuation Guarantee and my own contributions and my net pay. Why cannot private industry do likewise. Most businesses, even small ones, have their payrolls computerised, either in house or out-sourced, so the information should be readily available.
    28th Sep 2020
    Sometimes I wish we could all work in the public sector, easier that way. But someone has to make money before the public sector can waste it for social programmes.
    28th Sep 2020
    Eddy, often it shows on the employees payslip but the Private Sector companies are able to remit the payments quarterly, though some Superannuation Funds want the money monthly. The crooked employers just forget to send the money, the lazy ones pay late and the employees miss out on interest.
    Sooty from Marketing
    28th Sep 2020
    The LNP and Greens 2017 changes to the Pensioner Assets Test has resulted in me being underpaid $200 a week. I’m waiting for for stolen OAP.
    28th Sep 2020
    Sinic - be prepared for another cut never mind who's in Govt in the future. All that borrowed money will have to be paid back. If you have excess funds spend them now. 2017 will seem like a cake walk in comparison.
    28th Sep 2020
    You'll have a long wait, Sinic. Even the ALP now supports the change. They voted against it at the time, but refused to reverse it if elected. It stinks, but nobody is going to do anything about it.
    28th Sep 2020
    kss why do you want to know what Labor's policies are?, it is years until the next election, why give the Coalition a chance to pinch them if they think they could work for them. Govts are also stupid, just look at theat piece of land in Sydney bought by the Coalition off a Liberal donater, many times more the it is worth and won't be used until years down the track for a 2nd runway.
    28th Sep 2020
    Apologies KSS, this comment was in reply to John's post.
    28th Sep 2020
    Misty, the next federal election could be next year.
    28th Sep 2020
    I really like the adverts at the bottom of this page about living overseas on $1300 a month! For a start they are meant for US pensioners with IRA pensions not Aussie C/Link ones. Do your sums from here (unless you have a US passport). Have been to a lot of places mentioned and there is no Medicare and subsidised medications like here.
    28th Sep 2020
    What if I’ve cashed in and closed my super account???
    28th Sep 2020
    It said if you are retired it will go into your bank account. If you’re working you will have a super account as your employer has to put your super money into one. If your won another type of payment maybe ask Centrelink.
    28th Sep 2020
    What about those who worked and received payslips that stated the amount of Super but,it was never actually paid into the workers fund.The business owners then shot through or went into liquidation.The business's no longer exist. Holiday entitlements and long service monies were met by the government scheme but they could not enter into Super as it was a Taxation matter. We lost out and were left short of retirement funds.No luck chasing the business slipped away and left us short.Workers were afraid to complain and lose their jobs and promises never met.So much for superannuation guarantee.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles