What to do if your boss is ripping you off when it comes to super


About 24,000 employers admitted to underpaying, or not paying, staff their rightful super recently as a result of the SG amnesty announced by the federal government in May.

If you're in a job that pays $450 or more a month (before tax) you should receive 9.5% as your super guarantee (SG) on top of your wage. And if you are not getting this money, you need to follow it up.

The amnesty, which ended on September 7, allowed employers to disclose and make good previously unpaid SG charges dating back to July 1992 (when compulsory super first came into force), plus 10% interest, without penalties.

what to do if your boss is underpaying your super

Over $500 million of unpaid super was reunited with workers, as employers took advantage of the chance to "wipe the slate clean".

Around 393,000 employees received money into their super funds or, if they are no longer working, in their bank accounts.

A further $33 million is now subject to agreed payment plans, to help businesses doing it tough take advantage of the one-off opportunity.

To make sure you are being paid, you can check your contributions with your super fund - this can usually be done online. Or you can do it through your myGov account linked to the ATO.

Your employer might choose to pay the SG monthly or at each pay cycle, but it must be paid into your super account at least every three months.

To check that you are receiving the right amount, you can use the ATO's "estimate my super" tool.

If you can't see your contributions, ask your employer how often they're paying your super, where they're paying it and how much they're paying.

If your search and discussion are unsuccessful and you believe your employer has been underpaying or not paying at all, you can report it to the ATO.

The ATO will typically investigate and then chase the employer for unpaid SG debts. Any recovered money will go into your super fund.

Penalties for non-payment or underpayment are severe - superannuation is seen as deferred wages.

The introduction of Single Touch Payroll gives the ATO far greater visibility of businesses that continue to do the wrong thing by their workers.

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Julia Newbould was editor-at-large and later managing editor of Money from November 2019 to February 2022. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.