The $2.85 billion super rip-off that is costing Aussie workers


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Aussie employees missed out on $2.85 billion in super payments in 2014-15, according to new figures on the superannuation guarantee "gap" released by the Australian Tax Office.

This gap is an estimate of the difference between the value of super guarantee contributions required to be paid under the law and actual contributions made.

"While this analysis shows that 95% of the estimated superannuation guarantee is paid to employees, the gap exists because some employers appear not to be meeting their super guarantee obligations either by not paying enough or not paying it at all," said deputy commissioner James O'Halloran when announcing the gap estimate yesterday.

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There are a few steps you can take to make sure your employer is meeting their obligations and that you aren't a victim of the super guarantee gap.

Are you entitled to superannuation?

The first thing is to work out whether you are in fact entitled to the super guarantee.

As a general rule if you're 18 or over and are paid $450 or more (before tax) in a month, your employer should contribute at least 9.5% of your ordinary earnings (i.e., your rate before any overtime) into superannuation for you. It doesn't matter whether you're full time, part time or casual as long as you meet the income and age requirements.

If you are under 18, though, you have to work at least 30 hours in a week to get the 9.5% superannuation contribution.

If you're still unsure you can use this tool on the ATO website to work whether you are entitled to super guarantee contributions from your employer.

There's also an ATO calculator which can help you estimate how much super guarantee your employer should have paid for you.

How to check if you've been paid

The simplest way is to check your superannuation statement. But you don't necessarily have to wait until it arrives in the letterbox or email inbox.

You can generally log into your account online or via an app if your super fund has one to check that your employer is paying superannuation. You may also be able to check using your myGov account, which will show you how much has been paid into your super fund.

If you have any doubts your first port of call should be your employer. Ask them how much they have been paying and what account details they have on file.

What to do if you haven't been paid

If you still believe your employer isn't paying enough (or any) super - or isn't paying the super to your chosen fund - you can lodge an inquiry with the tax office.

You'll need to provide your personal details such as tax file number (TFN), the period you're inquiring about and your employer's details, including their Australian business number (ABN). The tax office says it will keep you updated about the progress of your inquiry by letter or email.

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Maria Bekiaris is editorial campaigns manager for Canstar and former deputy editor of Money. She holds a Bachelor's degree in business.