Industry Super claims government inaction has caused a blow out in unpaid super

Financial services minister Jane Hume. Picture: Elesa Kurtz
Financial services minister Jane Hume. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

One of the peak industry fund bodies has blamed government inaction on a multibillion-dollar blowout in unpaid superannuation contributions.

New analysis from Industry Super Australia shows one in four super fund members have lost out on $5 billion worth of unpaid super which is being withheld by employers.

ISA is the umbrella industry fund body representing some of Australia's largest funds including AustralianSuper, Hesta, Cbus and Hostplus.

The latest research says 70 per cent of workers do not realise super is paid quarterly and not with wages, with ISA claiming unpaid super could cost an individual upwards of $60,000 in retirement savings.

It also showed the federal electorates of Sydney, and Lalor in Victoria, had the highest level members with unclaimed super entitlements.

ISA chief executive Bernie Dean said the government needed to fix the problem, so employers had to pay wages and super together.

"Millions of Australians remain unaware they're being ripped off on super they've earned, just assuming that it's paid because it appears on their payslip," Mr Dean said.

"Until government fixes the problem by making employers pay super with wages, Australians need to be aware they could be missing out and take steps to protect their retirement savings."

Financial services minister Jane Hume hit back against ISA's claims, saying the analysis was highly sceptical.

"I am always sceptical about the claims made by Industry Super Australia," Senator Hume said.

"Many of their prior claims have been found to be incorrect. In fact, just two years ago, their claims on unpaid super were found by Treasury to have been inflated by up to 45 per cent."

The analysis found electorates with younger and working class demographics had higher levels of people not being paid super contributions.

In Sydney, 30 per cent of the electorate was underpaid a collective $55.1 million, which equates to an average of $1780 per person.

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In the seat of Melbourne, 23,800 were impacted at a worth of $41.5 million, while 34 per cent of Lalor voters were underpaid $1293 in super contributions.

Other affected electorates include Reid, Mitchell and Barton in NSW, Pearce and Bennelong in Western Australia and the seat of Brisbane.

Employers must be paying an minimum of 10 per cent on top of wages.

Workers being underpaid can lodge a complaint with the Australian Taxation Office.

"Most employers are doing the right thing, but they are being undercut by dodgy competitors who are ripping people off," Mr Dean said.

"Paying super with wages is the only way to get workers their money and level the playing field for business."

Senator Hume said ATO data shows 96 per cent of all businesses are compliant with SG contributions.

"We take Super Guarantee compliance very seriously and has a zero tolerance to employers who don't pay the appropriate amount of superannuation to their employees," she said.

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This story Five billion dollar blow in unpaid super: ISA first appeared on The Canberra Times.