Govt takes aim at bosses dodging super pay

Employers have been accused of “robbing” their workers by withholding Superannuation Guarantee, prompting the government to crack down on super compliance.

An audit by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) shows rogue employers short-changed staff by an average $2.81 billion every year between 2009 and 2015, hitting a peak of $3.3 billion in 2014-2015.

“The Turnbull Government is taking action to safeguard and modernist the SG so employers can’t hide from their legal duty”, Ms O’Dwyer said.

Past year a report from the commonwealth auditor general found the ATO’s internal risk assessment indicated that 11% to 20% of employers could be non-compliant with their super guarantee contributions, and that non-compliance was “endemic”. “This is illegal and won’t be tolerated”, O’Dwyer said.

The AIST, however, argued that more reforms were needed, especially with regard to the frequency with which employers are required to make super guarantee contributions on their employee’s behalf.

The ATO was pressed into greater action late a year ago amid claims about a third of Australian workers were being ripped off by rogue employers who hold back some or all of their superannuation entitlements.

The package also gives the ATO the ability to seek court-order penalties for repeat offenders.

However, the ATO said that since 2010, more than $2 billion has been recovered and transferred into employee superannuation accounts.

The ATO said it now meets on a quarterly basis with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman to monitor the operation of the superannuation guarantee system.

Scheerlinck added that requiring small employers to adopt STP for super payments was a critical element in addressing the issue of unpaid super.

She said it was crucial that employers be required to pay super at least monthly (though ideally in line with wage payments) and to record actual benefits paid on an employee’s payslip.

Australia’s employers have failed to pay $17bn in super belonging to their employees since 2009, and tax authorities have only been able to detect and claw back $3bn.

“Disappointedly, the package lacks this key reform”, Scheerlinck said. “We believe this measure would have a significant impact for members”.

The reforms build on legislation created to close a “legal loophole” used to short-change employees who make voluntary contributions to their superannuation.

The package reflects key recommendations in the final report of the SG Cross-Agency Working Group released on 14 July 2017, which was established by Minster O’Dwyer late previous year.

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