At Dragon, we are constantly asked questions by our construction workers about superannuation. We also hear horror stories about some less reputable employers out there! (But we can talk about that another time!)
Quick Superannuation Overview
Before we get into the questions and answers – lets go over the basics of Super.
Superannuation – often called ‘Super’ – is money put aside by you and your employer throughout your working life for you to live on once you have retired.
The main difference between Super and other savings and investments is you can only withdraw the money once you turn 65 or under defined circumstances.
All employees are guaranteed 10% of their earnings in super. This super guarantee (SG) is the minimum employees must be paid.
You may also be able to increase your Super Contributions with a ‘salary sacrifice’ – you will need to talk to your employer about the pros and cons of this approach – or you can make additional personal contributions from your ‘after-tax’ income.
If you make at least $1,000 in personal contributions, you may be eligible for a $500 co-contribution from the government.
Remember, planning your superannuation is an important financial decision and it is best to consult a qualified financial adviser.
1. Do I Get Super As A Casual?
Generally, everyone who is over 18 and has earned at least $450 before tax in a month is entitled to super contributions from their employer.
This applies to all workers – even casual workers, part-time workers, and temporary workers.
2. Do Temporary Residents Get Super?
If you are not a permanent resident and you leave Australia after working and accruing super, you may be eligible to claim the super back when you leave.
This will be taxed depending on your visa classification.
3. Do Labour Hire Companies Have To Pay Super?
When you work for a labour hire company, you are an employee – even though you are “on-hired” to other companies, contractors and individuals to work.
This means that you are eligible for all employee benefits, including superannuation, and the minimum award rates and benefits.
Generally, Casual Construction Workers are covered by the Building and Construction General On-site Award [MA000020].
This means superannuation needs to be paid during periods of leave while on workers compensation if the employee:
- can’t work because of a work-related injury or illness
- is getting paid workers compensation payments or regular payments from their employer
- is still employed by their employer
Read more about your Superannuation benefits for the Building and Construction Award
4. When do companies have to pay super
All employers need to pay super into their employee’s super funds by the following dates for each quarter.
|Quarter||Period||Payment due date to funds||Lodgment due date to the ATO|
|1||1 July – 30 September||28 October||28 November|
|2||1 October – 31 December||28 January||28 February|
|3||1 January – 31 March||28 April||28 May|
|4||1 April – 30 June||28 July||28 August|
5. How do I check if my super has been paid
There are several ways to check your super status.
- Check your pay slip. Super payments are often included.
- You can keep track of your super using myGov. You can link it to the ATO to see details of your super accounts including payments. It is also available via the ATO App.
- You can confirm how much money has been paid to your super fund by checking the member statements from your super fund.
- You can also look up your super fund online to check directly.
You can also check whether your employer is making the correct super contributions with the ATO Estimate My Super tool.
It is important to check contributions are being made into your super account regularly. When employers are finding things tough, they may not prioritise your super contributions. If business has financial problems and ceases trading, you could miss out on the super contributions that you are entitled to.
6. What Happens If An Employer Doesn’t Pay Super? (or is paying the wrong amount)
Employers are obligated to pay the correct amount of super on time for their employees.
If they do not, they must pay the superannuation guarantee charge (SGC). They will also be required to pay additional interest if they miss the due dates.
For non-cooperative employers, the ATO may take stronger action, including:
It is in everyone’s interest that super contributions are paid correctly and on time.
7. How To Claim Unpaid Super
Once you are sure that your employer has not paid you the correct amount of super – or it is late – the first step is to talk to your employer.
This is a difficult conversation to have, so download and the Fair Work guide. This has lots of useful resources as well as links to online courses for workplace communication.
If you are not getting anywhere with your employer, you can lodge an inquiry with the ATO.
Before you do this, make sure you have:
- Your Tax File Number (TFN)
- The period you are reporting (see above)
- Your award
- Your employer’s details – including their Australian Business Number (ABN). This is is usually on your last payment summary or payslip, or on your employer’s letterhead. If you do not know this, you can use the government’s Australian Business Register ABN lookup tool.
If you choose this route, you will be asked to provide your name. If you choose not to, it may prevent or delay the inquiry.
Alternatively, if you wish to remain confidential you can complete the ATO tip-off form. It is also available in the ATO App, or you can phone in your tip-off on 1800 060 062.
Finally, the ATO may investigate your employer on their own initiative. If they do this, they may notify you of their investigation.
However, the ATO can only investigate cases after the lodgment deadline has passed. This means you may have to wait much longer for it to be resolved.
You can also search the Fair Work Ombudsman unpaid wages database to see if the unpaid Super has been collected by Fair Work.
Working For Dragon
Dragon takes its employer responsibilities seriously.
We know there are some dodgy players out there in the labour hire industry, so we are committed to changing the face of the industry through smart technology solutions and treating workers right.
We always pay all our employees super correctly and on time. We also pay above award rates, and our overtime kicks in after 7.6 hours a day.