'Gig workers shouldn't miss out on super'


HESTA is the latest industry fund calling for an extension of compulsory Superannuation Guarantee (SG) benefits to workers in the gig economy, amid concerns these workers will be "vulnerable to poverty" later in life.

HESTA chief executive Debby Blakey says the importance of legislative reform in a submission to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 'Employee-like forms of work' consultation.

The super system was founded on the vision of universality, and as employment conditions evolve, it's crucial to stop gig workers from falling through the gaps, Blakey says.

ubereats delivery drivers shouldn't miss out on super

"Super is for everyone, and we need to ensure that all workers benefit fairly and equitably from our world-class retirement savings system," she says.

As part of its proposal, HESTA made three recommendations aimed at addressing the challenges faced by gig workers.

Firstly, the proposed legislation should clearly state that the SG is a minimum standard for workers in 'employee-like' arrangements.

The government should also pursue additional superannuation reforms to provide gig workers with an entitlement to the SG.

HESTA also emphasised that the ATO should increase its SG compliance activities for gig workers in 'employee-like' arrangements.

"We will continue working towards achieving a fairer and more equitable superannuation framework for all Australians," Blakey concluded.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) previously noted that the growing prominence of gig economy jobs could lead to a lesser number of jobs that provide SG contributions. Consequently, resulting in lower or potentially no contributions for affected workers, leading to a diminished super balance at retirement.

ASFA also highlighted that the growth of the gig economy could have adverse implications for life insurance coverage.

"... the rise of the gig economy would likely lead to an increase in the proportion of Australian workers who do not have life insurance cover. In turn, this would increase the degree of underinsurance in the Australian community and the consequential burden on the social security system," an ASFA report says.

More recently, Industry Super Australia (ISA) has reiterated the call for gig workers to be paid super.

The ISA pointed out that Australia's gig workers are losing out an estimated $400 million in super contributions annually, which could have enhanced their retirement savings.

ISA chief executive Bernie Dean says gig workers, who are integral to various sectors, including food delivery and aged care, deserve their share in the universal saving system.

"Being a gig worker shouldn't mean you miss out on the opportunity to save for a decent nest egg at retirement," he zYz.

This article first appeared on Financial Standard

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Andrew McKean is a journalist at Financial Standard. He covers superannuation, wealth management and financial advice. Prior to this he has worked freelance for not-for-profit organisations and corporate educators. Andrew has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and non-fiction writing from Macquarie University. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.