For many Australians, superannuation is seen as a set and forget type of scheme, where you set up your account and your employer pays your contributions.
Unfourtunately, things don't always work this smoothly. Checking your payslips regularly to make sure your employer is making the mandatory 9.5 per cent super contribution is a must to ensure a comfortable future.
If you do realise that your super contributions haven’t been made for that pay cycle, or worse, if the problem has been going on much longer, it’s not too late to address it. In most cases, your employer is legally required to be making these contributions at least quarterly and there are avenues you can follow to make sure the problem is rectified.
Known as ‘superannuation guarantee non-compliance’, the government takes these issues seriously and so should you. The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) estimates that the average person affected by superannuation guarantee non-compliance loses around $4,000 a year and for a 25-year-old, a one-off loss of this amount could equal a total loss of over $14,000 at retirement in today’s dollars.
So if you are concerned, here are the steps you can take to get the issue resolved:
Get your super fund statement
Getting in contact with your super fund and asking for a copy of your member statement is the first step in resolving this issue. You can use your member statement to see when your last super payment was and how much you received.
This can help determine when the problem started and potentially why it’s happening. For example, you may have changed employers or had a change in the way your pay was structured.
You can also use this information to make sure you are getting paid the right amount of super, which is just as important.
Talk to your employer
After you are armed with the facts it’s time to talk directly to your employer. Keep in mind that employers can pay super contributions quarterly if they chose to so if your payslip for this fortnight isn’t showing a contribution that could be the reason.
Make sure that you understand the pay system in your workplace by talking to your boss or HR supervisor about how your payslip can be deciphered and how frequently they make contributions.
Also check that they have the correct details for your super fund of choice. It could be that your super contributions have been going to a fund nominated by your employer. To rectify this, provide your employer with the details of the fund you want contributions to be made to and think about consolidating your funds to help keep track of your superannuation and possibly reduce the amount of fees you are paying.
Contact the ATO
If you don’t think you’re making head way by talking to your employer then the final port of call is the ATO. The ATO keeps track of all the super funds attached to your name and by logging into their online system you are able to keep track of the payments that have been made or not made.
You can also lodge an unpaid super enquiry online that will require you to provide the ATO with your employer’s details and the exact nature of your complaint.
The ATO will then begin an investigation into your case and contact you when they have updates to report. This is the only way to go about claiming unpaid super and although it could potentially be a lengthy process, it is more than worth it when you consider the importance super will play in your future.
Advice contained in this article is general in nature and not specific to your particular circumstances. Before making an investment decision you should consider your own financial situation and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement/s. We also recommend you seek advice about your own particular circumstances from a licensed financial adviser. Further information on superannuation can be found at: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/superannuation-and-retirement. You can find out more information from the ATO at: https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/in-detail/growing/unpaid-super/.
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