My boss isn't paying my super, how can I dob them in?

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Never assume that your employer is paying your superannuation correctly or on time or even at all. Always check your super fund that payments have been made.

It is best to treat your superannuation fund the same way as you would your bank account and regularly look at the payments. Look at how much is in your super fund. You need to be sure that your employer is contributing the compulsory 10% superannuation guarantee (SG) of your base salary because an alarmingly high percentage of employers don't pay the right amount.

Unpaid superannuation was getting out of hand with around three million Australians or one in three workers getting short-changed by around $6 billion in superannuation in 2016. Since then the tax office has moved to crack down on employers who aren't paying the right amount of superannuation or paying it late by using the single touch payroll reporting system. It chased up $805 million in outstanding SG in 2018-19. But there are still examples of employees not receiving their superannuation at all.

my boss isn't paying my super properly, what can i do

Unpaid superannuation is typically worse for people working as machinery operators, tradies, in the construction and hospitality industries. It is widespread among young low-income workers, according to Industry Super Australia.

What's more, the current tough times in a pandemic means that some financially stressed employers aren't prioritising SG payments and keeping up with their payments on time. They may not be even making their SG payments which means fund members could be missing out on their super contributions that are rightfully theirs.

Unpaid super has a profound long-term financial impact on people's wealth in retirement, potentially costing tens or thousands of dollars.

The good news is that the tax office can help you retrieve your superannuation but before you contact it, get in touch with your superannuation fund to see if your employer has paid your SG contributions.

You can check your super account online, by logging in to see if there are regular fortnightly or monthly or quarterly SG contributions. Your employer must pay its SG contributions at least four times a year in line with the following quarterly due dates.

If you aren't sure that you're entitled to super guarantee contributions or unsure if your employer has paid the correct amount - you can use the tax office's Am I Entitled To Super at ato.gov.au/calculators-and-tools/am-i-entitled-to-super/ and Estimate my super tools at ato.gov.au/calculators-and-tools/estimate-my-super/

If your employer hasn't paid enough super or paid it late or paid it to the wrong fund, you can use the tax office's web tool - Report Unpaid Super Contributions From My Employer - to let the tax office know so it can investigate.

The tax office points out that it investigates unpaid super after the employer's due date for lodgement has passed. See the dates above.

For example, if you are lodging your enquiry to include the period 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021, this cannot be investigated until after the lodgement due date of 28 November 2021.

To look into your unpaid super, the tax office needs:

  • your personal details - including tax file number (TFN)
  • the period of your enquiry
  • your employer's details - including its Australian business number (ABN).

You can usually locate your employer's ABN on your last pay summary or payslip, or on their business letterhead stationery. If you don't have these documents, you can use ABN LookupExternal Link to search for your employer's ABN.

The tax office asks you for permission to use your name when contacting your employer.

If you want your enquiry to remain confidential so your employer doesn't know you have tipped off the tax office, you can complete a tip-off form.

It is available on the tax office website at ato.gov.au/tipoff, or you can find the form in the 'contact us' section of the ATO App or you can phone in your tip-off on 1800 060 062. You could qualify for protection as a tax whistle-blower when reporting unpaid super contributions from your employer.

One of the big mistakes that fund members make about their unpaid superannuation is that they don't make inquiries while they are members of the fund.

The tax office found that some employees complain about the wrong amounts of superannuation long after they have left the company. Their memory can be hazy and sometimes they fail to properly identify the employer. Sometimes the employer has not told the employee where the contributions have been made.

To avoid any confusion, familiarise yourself with the superannuation fund when you join a company. Know the name of the superannuation fund by asking the pay office.

When you know the name, contact the fund to check that the superannuation guarantee amount, the compulsory 10% of your salary every employer is required to contribute plus any personal contributions you may be making is in the fund.

Check your statement regularly online. Some companies include the superannuation contributions on the pay slip and the accumulated annual contribution.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.
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September 11, 2021 4.28pm

My son was working part time for a pizza take away but the employer was not paying him his entitled super. I reported this to the ATO but was told that it could take years to get the super payment resolved. The pizza take away was a franchise so I rang the franchise head office to report that my son was not getting his super and the next pay all of his super entitlement was paid into his super account.