Industrial advocates are calling on the federal government to make it compulsory for employers to pay superannuation contributions every time they pay regular wages.
The call comes as a parliamentary inquiry has been told one in three Australians are losing out on a total of $6 billion a year in super.
Super currently paid once a quarter
Currently, employers only have to make super contributions every three months and industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Industrial Relations Claims said that makes it hard for workers to keep track of what and when they’ve been paid.
“Most workers probably check their bank balance or pay slip on pay day, but very few would check when and if they are being paid their super,” he said.
“And that’s because the payments only have to be paid four times a year.
“If employers had to pay super every time a worker gets their regular wages, that would make it easier for workers to check if it’s being paid, and harder for employers to dodge their legal obligation to make the contributions.”
Unpaid super can cost a worker a fortune
Mr Heffernan said unpaid super is insidious because not only does the worker miss out on the base contribution, but they also miss out on the compounding interest that base contribution can earn.
“The numbers are staggering – $100 today could end up growing to $10,000 over the course of someone’s working life – and that will make a big difference by the time someone retires,” he said.
Industry Super Australia chief executive Bernie Dean told a parliamentary inquiry that ensuring super was paid on pay day was a “no-brainer” and called on the government to make it mandatory.
“The dollar figures Australians are missing out on are too large to ignore,” he said.
Mr Dean said many workers find that super contributions are recorded on their pay slip, but never paid into their account.
Amnesty proposal criticised
He was critical of a government proposal to give amnesty to employers who admitted underpaying super if they promised to rectify it.
Mr Heffernan from IR Claims advised workers to always check their pay slips and regularly check the balance of their super account.
“Too many workers don’t ever think about it, especially younger workers, but keeping vigilant about super could make a big difference to their retirement,” he said.