Thousands of Australians are missing money from their super accounts

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A new report from Industry Super Australia has revealed that the superannuation accounts of thousands of Australians could be down by as much as $35,000 due to underpayment by unscrupulous employers.

Industry Super Australia and industry super fund Cbus published a report earlier this year that showed employers who failed to make compulsory super payments are pocketing around $3.6 billion per year from 2.4 million employees.

This represents around $1489 per year, per worker.

Australians with underpaid super funds are short on average by almost $20,000, with people in the 60 to 64 age bracket down by over $35,000.

The report proves that many employers are deliberately short-changing their workers by “dodging their super obligations”.

“It is disturbing that compliance systems are allowing it to go unchecked year after year,” said Industry Super Public Affairs Director Matt Linden. “It leaves [the] Government short-changed on tax revenue and affected Australians with little chance of a decent retirement.”

However, the Australian Tax Office (ATO), which released its own report on the same subject, has a different take on the situation. While the ATO did not give an estimate of the shortfall, it states that it only applies to around 10,000 cases.

In 2016, the ATO received 10,759 reports from employees about unpaid super, the main culprits being from the accommodation, hospitality, construction, manufacturing and retail sectors.

The ATO also said that recovering unpaid super can be a difficult task.

“Super funds report member contributions to the ATO on an annual basis and, as a result, [the] ATO has no visibility of payment information for up to 15 months after the start of a year,” the ATO submission stated.

“This means non-compliant employers can be difficult for the ATO to identify in a timely manner.”

Read more at Industry Super Australia
Read more at The Age

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 22
  1. 0

    Seems to be the same old thing. Let employers get away with everything yet heave on the employees, pensioners, disadvantaged, centrelink recipients and all.

    What to do? Make the super funds report on a monthly basis. Surely this will advantage them as they will get more money (which they will apply generous fees to).

    Make it part of the BAS reporting is another option.

    Seems very easy to set up computerized checking systems to unreliably send out debt letters to centerlink customers (I like that definition “customers”) but not one that will advantage employees.

    Make it a criminal offense, Make Superfunds send out a monthly statement showing funds received that month.

    I always thought that super paid was included employee/employer contributions were shown on pay slips. Does this also mean the the employees contribution is also not being paid to the super funds. If so this is definitely a criminal offense as it is stealing.

    It is amazing that a government saying super is to reduce the reliance on pensions yet letting employers get away with not paying super that is going to increase the reliance for some superannuates.

    • 0

      Wstaton super payments ARE shown on pay slips. The issue is not what the employee is told but that the employer is not handing the deducted money to the super fund.

      Yes they are at fault BUT the employee has a responsibility too. Every super fund issues a statement every 6 months. This statement lists all the payments received. It is easy to check that the payments are up to date and start taking appropriate action then. Unfortunately people just don’t have any interest in looking after their finances. After all, they are ‘entitled’ to a Government pension aren’t they??? (tongue firmly in cheek)

    • 0

      Yes this is true but people have a myriad of things to do constantly and they put trust in the people who they expect to do the right thing.

      It does not negate the fact that these employers are being fraudulent and it distresses me that when they are being found out there seems to be a real problem in righting this wrong. To make this worse the government of the day and associated bureaucracies do not seem to care.

      Apart from the employer contribution, if the employee has decided to contribute and the employer has deducted this amount from an employees pay and then misused it instead of sending it to the super fund, then this is even more fraudulent. It is much the same as if you paid a broker and gave them money to deposit in some fund and they didn’t then they would end up in prison.

    • 0

      Not all employers issue payslips. If you work casual for a cheque you don’t get one. You can check the half yearly super fund statement if you get one of those. Business seems to be getting a bit slack with the paper work side of things. Perhaps since the downsizing at the ATO they figure there will be less chance of a fuss being made.

    • 0

      If something is worthwhile to you then you should check to see if it is correct, like KSS said. Trust is a wonderful thing when you can totally rely upon it, BUT mistakes, oversights, etc can and do happen, so a finger on important pulses is recommended.

  2. 0

    This was always the problem and obvious outcome which workers were going to get by allowing their bosses to manage their super. The two should NEVER have been connected. The only way to make the system legitimate is to force a super payment when every pay period occurs with employees able to check this via accessing their super account.
    Governments were AGAIN in the pockets of business. This never changes. It never will whilst governments and business have a cosy business relationship held together with fraudulent donations or inducements which should be treated as a criminal offense rather than a business dealing…..which it never is.

  3. 0

    My employer in the 1990s used employee and employer superannuation contributions to fund shortfalls in their business income. I reported this to the ATO who did absolutely NOTHING about it!

  4. 0

    Seems an easily fixed problem. Make payments due every three months with notification to the ATO and buy a computer system to manage it. The excuse that $3.6 billion of earnings are being stolen from worker’s and it is too hard to fix is blatant mismanagement.

    All the fuss over $300 million of centrelink theft and yet this stealing can’t be sorted? Not good enough.

    • 0

      Actually Rae employers ARE meant to pay at least every three months at the latest already. Check the ATO website

    • 0

      That’s fine KSS. I remitted shearer and contractor super at the time of employment myself. It wasn’t hard as the paperwork was easily sorted out. Id $3.6 billion is being stolen each year then something is seriously wrong don’t you think. Rules are obviously being broken and management of the system failing. You would think it simple in this day of computers to oversee a compulsory government regulation.

    • 0


      I remember if I didn’t submit my monthly BAS statement on time I ended up getting a penalised by ATO. (Didn’t have any employees)

      If a business doesn’t submit a SGC Statement nothing happens and it’s up to the employee to take action if they happen to find out.

      This reminds me once. I have a small property in the country where I live. A council agent came round to check that Ihad cut the grass in my paddock. I live along a river and as we know the water authorities own the river and land adjacent (not sure the distance but I know where my boundaries are.)

      He mentioned to me about all the long grass in the authorities area along the river.

      Now, one is able to lease this area which I didn’t. If I had I would be responsible for it.

      My area checked out OK and he mentioned that I should get onto the water authority about cutting and clearing the area.

      I thought about this for a minute as the previous year I missed getting my paddock slashed by my usual contractor by a few days. I got a nasty letter saying I had to get it done by xxx or they wood get it done and charge me for it (I guess at a much inflated rate) As it was my contractor came the day after I got the letter.

      I said to the council employee. You get onto me if I delay but you expect me to tell the water conglomerate to come and slash their grass. Isn”t that your job.

      Just show one thing for the normal people and another for bureaucracies. They take us to task but not each other if they are doing the same thing.

  5. 0

    My friend got his payout from his rip off boss, claiming bankruptcy, by threatening to torch the Jaquar. It worked. He was paid out in cash. All the other worker’s lost all their entitlements. No-one else would help so he took it upon himself.

  6. 0

    It’s strange isn’t it, somehow some how it’s easy to track down ‘Centrelink clients’ not doing the right thing AND it’s easy to send out false reclaims to ‘Centrelink clients’, but some how employers can get away with years of short changing Compulsory super contributions for an employee. $35000 is a very high amount for someone on a pension to have stolen off them, but then again they’re only common pensioners so who in government give a rats arse. Especially if it’s a Liberal Government.

  7. 0

    Super is getting to be a no go zone, if it is not the Government its Employers ripping off peoples super.Private health and super were put in place to ease the Budget but people are dropping out of both and the long term ramification is frightening.

  8. 0

    Appalling that you should give such credence to this so-called report and analysis.

    This is no more and no less than another union controlled and directed scare campaign designed to frighten people to put their super under union thugs control.

    Your editorial group should be ashamed of themselves.

    Why do you not fund an independent survey for the facts surrounding this topic rather than accept at face value a “report” from these crooked union hacks.

  9. 0

    Not a bludger what planet are you on

  10. 0

    Many employees don’t realise that, if they “sacrifice” part of their wage to their super fund then the employer legally can choose to contribute super calculated on the actual wage that is taken.

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