Super contribution up

All employers need to understand their obligations paying superannuation. 

A small increase is due from 1 July, so ensure you cover yourself by being up to date.

Super up by 0.5%

Employers should all be aware that the Superannuation Guarantee, commonly just referred to as ‘super’, is a compulsory payment to employees to a fund set up for that purpose.  An employee will have a personal account with that fund where the money is paid. 

The amount that must be paid is fixed by law and on 1 July 2021 it went up slightly to 10% of wages.  It is paid on all Ordinary Time Earnings, including piecework

While some employers pay this amount into staff super funds every payday, others do so periodically, but all are required to detail super entitlements on payslips every payday.

One important exception for super payments is for anyone who earns less than $450 in a calendar month – in that case superannuation is not required to be paid.  That could be a part-time worker on low hours or a pieceworker on very low earnings.   However, as this equates to less than 18 hours for a casual worker on minimum wages under the Horticulture Award over an entire month, it is likely to be a rare situation.  There is legislation pending that the minimum earnings threshold is to be scrapped, but for the 2021-22 financial year it still remains.

In some cases an employee can choose their own superannuation fund but in others the employer has the right to nominate one, particularly if the worker is on a temporary working visa.

Generally the money can only be taken out by the worker on retirement or at a specific age – it exists to help fund the retirement of workers in Australia.  Foreign workers who have accumulated funds while working in Australia can apply for a refund from the Australian Tax Office after leaving the country.  It is called a Departing Australian Superannuation Payment (DASP).

Any super payments that are not made as required by law may be considered wage theft.  If you are uncertain of your obligations, and you can’t find answers on the comprehensive ATO website, it will probably pay to seek professional advice from an accountant or tax lawyer.