Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Missing Superannuation Payments

Australia has legislation that gaurantees 9% of wages are paid by employers into superannuation accounts. The Superannuation Gaurantee Act (1992) requires employers to make payments into a superannuation account only once per year.
<http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/s1772.pdf , S4 "Page 8")

In 2001, Ansett Australia went into receivership, folded, and employees lost all their superannuation entitlements. A "levy" was introduced on all flights to make up for Ansett's failure to meet its obligations. ie passengers flying on different airlines paid extra to make up for Ansett's poor management of its employees entitlements, including superannuation.

The ABC reported that up to 8000 employers could be in breach of the Superannuation Gaurantee Act (1992). <http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2007/s1898306.htm>

The tax office apparently investigates up to 10,000 complaints about superannuation, each year! One wonders how many other employees don't know to complain, or are unaware they are being denied their legal entitlements.

Assistant Deputy Tax Commissioner Ian Read, says that many complaints occur after a company starts experiencing cash-flow problems., and there are occasions where the tax office never retrieves any superannuation money. ie the money is not gauranteed, as one would think from the title of the legislation.

If a company makes one superannuation payment in a year, at the end of the company's financial year, how much in superannuation earnings do employees lose? How much might have to be "made-up" by the Federal Government in pension payments?

I think the time has come to amend the law to require more frequent gauranteed contributions to superannuation, and possible that directors become more responsible for ensuring that the compulsory contributions are, in fact, made! Last year the tax office recovered more than $350 million in unpaid superannuation, yet there seems to have been no action taken against those responsible for underpaying, or not paying, compulsory superannuationpayments.

The Analyst