When Do You Need To Be Worried About Unpaid Super?

When Do You Need To Be Worried About Unpaid Super?


Australia’s superannuation laws are designed with the intent to ensure that your nest egg for retirement is protected and able to continue to grow throughout your career.

Your employer is expected to make contributions to your superannuation by law, known as the Superannuation Guarantee, as a part of your wages and salary package. The current rate for the SG is 10% in 2021-22.

Up to a quarter of Australian workers may have been underpaid or unpaid when it comes to parts of their super. During these turbulent times of financial insecurity or instability, many employers may have found it difficult to prioritise making SG contributions on your behalf. The reporting obligations and quarterly payment schedules could result in them not meeting their SG obligations in a timely fashion.

There is a rising issue occurring from superannuation laws that employers may possibly be exploiting, which could significantly affect their employees’ retirement outcomes.

The Government recently offered an amnesty to employers to catch up in their superannuation guarantee obligations but it appears that there are many that are still not complying with the rules.

According to Industry Super Australia (ISA), underpaid and unpaid superannuation costs almost 3 million Australian workers an average of $1,700 each year. Some of the more common occupations in which unpaid and underpaid SG contributions occur may include those in the hospitality and trades sectors and occur more frequently with young and lower-income employees.

If this were to happen to you, the shortfall dealt to your retirement income can be a significant detriment that could affect you greatly. For example, if you were employed for 30 years with the same employer with whom you were suffering this superannuation loss, you could lose out on up to $50,000 in superannuation.

There are minimal circumstances in which an employer does not have to pay super contributions to their employees due to the employee’s eligibility. These instances may include:

  • If you are an employee being paid for work as a non-resident in a Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA)
  • If you are a non-resident paid for work completed outside of Australia
  • If you are paid under the Community Development Employment Program (CDEP)
  • If the work that you are conducting is of a domestic or private nature, and you do not work more than 30 hours in a week
  • If you are under 18 years of age and are not working more than 30 hours in a week
  • If you are paid less than $450 before tax in a calendar month

In the event that you are not receiving superannuation contributions from your employer, but you do not fall under those circumstances mentioned above, you may be one of the 3 million Australians who are losing out.

If you are in this position then you need to take action as soon as possible.

The Australian Taxation Office can become involved with the reclamation of underpaid super contributions by employers.

In the event that your employer is not doing the right thing, you can:

  • Report unpaid super contributions to the ATO after the lodgement due date for super contributions.
    • You will need to provide your personal information (including your Tax File Number), the period you are checking and your employer’s details (including their ABN).

Under current law, if your employer misses an SG payment, or doesn’t pay by the lodgement deadline, they are required to lodge an SG charge statement and pay a late fee.

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If you believe the matters discussed above are relevant to your business, please contact Darren Smith of our office to discuss further.


Darren is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience, including working in the big 4 and medium sized firms before becoming a partner of a city based firm in 2000.

He has gained much experience and has extensive knowledge in providing business and taxation advice, superannuation planning, negotiation of sales and acquisitions of businesses and property development. His client base covers a wide range of industry groups.

Darren works with business owners to grow their businesses and create personal wealth within and outside of their business.


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