Superannuation is part of a worker’s pay and conditions and bosses who deliberately avoid paying their workers superannuation are breaking the law,’’ says Dr Mike Freelander, the federal member for Macarthur.
The local MP says a Shorten Labor Government will help workers get their unpaid superannuation off unscrupulous employers – and make sure dodgy bosses are appropriately punished.
“Labor will change the laws to include a right to superannuation within the National Employment Standards, which will give all employees the power to pursue their unpaid superannuation,” he said.
Currently unpaid or underpaid employer superannuation contributions are a debt owed to the Australian Taxation Office, rather than the worker. Unless there is a clause in their award or agreement, workers can’t chase this money – as the money is not technically owed to them.
“By placing superannuation within the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act, a Shorten Labor Government will empower all employees to recoup unpaid super from employers through the Fair Work Commission or the Federal Court,” Dr Freelander said.
Labor will also strengthen the ATO compliance regime and increase penalties for employers for underpayment or non-payment of superannuation.
Employers who underpay superannuation to their staff because of a false or misleading statement will face fines equal to 100 per cent of the unpaid super. Employers who fail to tell the ATO about unpaid superannuation when asked will face fines equal to 300 per cent of the unpaid super.
“The underpayment or non-payment of superannuation is an enormous issue,” says Dr Freelander.
According to Industry Super Australia, nearly three million Australians experienced superannuation non-payment or underpayment in 2015-16, totalling an incredible $5.9 billion in unpaid super.
Recent reports have shown that 75 per cent of workers affected by unpaid or underpaid superannuation are under 35 years of age, earn under $30,000, and/or are in blue collar jobs.
“Standing up for workers is Labor’s defining mission. Only Labor can be trusted to protect workers and crack down on dodgy employers who are failing to pay their workers the super they deserve,’’ Dr Freelander said.
“Only Labor will deliver a fair go for working Australians.
“A fair go means fair pay and conditions – and that includes superannuation.’’