Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has called on the Morrison Government to match Labor’s tough superannuation policy after it was revealed that Newcastle-Hunter workers are losing out on almost $150 million in superannuation payments each year.
Ms Claydon said she was appalled but not surprised that one-third of Hunter-Newcastle workers were owed superannuation payments totalling $146 million.
“Too often I get calls from Novocastrians at their wits end after being short-changed thousands of dollars that is rightfully theirs,” Ms Claydon said.
“Even when the ATO officially confirms the money is owed, workers can’t chase this money as the debt isn’t technically owed to them.”
Ms Claydon called on the Government to match Labor’s policy to get tough on dodgy bosses and make it easier for employees to recover unpaid super.
“Unpaid super is theft, pure and simple. It’s about time the law treated it as such,” Ms Claydon said.
“Under Labor, employers who underpay superannuation to their staff because of a false or misleading statement will be fined an amount 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.
“Labor will also enshrine a right to superannuation within the National Employment Standards, giving workers the power to pursue their unpaid superannuation through the Fair Work Commission or Federal Court.”
Ms Claydon said there needs to be more serious repercussions for employers that shortchange workers on super.
“At the moment, too many employers are withholding superannuation as a means of cashflow management. That’s an appalling business practice, but there’s not enough incentive to do the right thing,” Ms Claydon said.
“Good employers who pay their workers’ superannuation entitlements are at a competitive disadvantage to the bosses who shirk the rules.”
Ms Claydon said the Morrison Government’s failure to get tough on unpaid superannuation was yet another betrayal of Australian workers.
“Australian workers are already being hit by record low wage growth, rising costs and a decline in the standard of living,” Ms Claydon said.
“It’s time the Government stood up to dodgy bosses who are failing to pay their workers the super they deserve.”