In Australia, employees earning a before-tax monthly wage of $450 or more are eligible to receive superannuation guarantee (SG) contributions from their employers. This rule also applies to employees aged 18 or less if they have worked for more than 30 hours per week, as well as casual and temporary employees. According to law, employers are required to deposit 9.5 per cent of an eligible employee’s wages in the super fund chosen by the employee. If the employee doesn’t indicate a choice within 60 days of being nominated to the super fund, the employer can deposit the contributions in a default super fund.
If you feel you’re eligible for super contributions but don’t see any payments reflected in your super account, you may need to lodge an enquiry with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). However, you should first use the ATO’s super contribution estimator to confirm that you’re eligible for SG contributions in the first place. Also, check with your employer about their payment schedule and whether they’ve deposited your contributions in a default fund rather than the fund you’re looking at, as it could be something as simple as that. Once you're sure that you need to recover unpaid superannuation contributions from your employer, if your employer isn't being helpful, you can report them to the ATO over the Internet.
How does recovering unpaid superannuation guarantee contributions work?
Suppose there are unpaid superannuation contributions you’ve not received in your super fund or a default fund used by your employer even after the ATO’s lodgement date. You’ve also reached out to your employer and not received a satisfactory response. You can then check if the ATO has already taken note of your employer’s non-compliance with super contribution rules, and if not, you can lodge an inquiry against your employer with the ATO.
The ATO will then contact your employer to verify whether they have made at least the minimum super contribution necessary to avoid paying a fine. To ensure that the ATO’s investigation progresses smoothly, you’ll need to authorise the ATO to discuss your case with your employer. You’ll also need to provide your employer’s Australian Business Number (ABN), their business address, and any contact details. Also, you may need to submit a description and timeline of the unpaid super contributions, and confirmation that you were entitled to super guarantee contributions. You should also mention whether you’ve checked your myGov account to make sure your employer didn’t deposit their contributions in a default fund.
Once the ATO establishes that your employer does owe super contributions, they will initiate a recovery process, by filing suit against your employer if necessary. You may receive communications from the ATO updating you at various stages of the investigation.
The investigation is closed once the ATO receives the unpaid super contributions from your employer and transfers it to your super fund. The exact contribution you receive will be determined by the ATO, based on whether the contribution details they receive from your employer match the details provided by you. You may also receive any interest that has accumulated on the unpaid super contribution.
Is there a time limit for recovering unpaid super contributions?
Typically, you can make unpaid superannuation claims for contributions from the last five years, which is the period employers are required to maintain super contributions records. However, you may be able to claim unpaid super contributions from more than five years ago if you can provide the necessary documentation.
In these instances, the ATO will usually ask for your payslips and super fund statements for the duration you didn’t receive super contributions. If the information you provide is sufficient to launch an investigation, the ATO will confirm the same, possibly within a month of you submitting any required documents.