Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has urged workers to check their payslips and superannuation account balances to ensure they are receiving their compulsory 9.5% superannuation, after analysis revealed close to 18,000 Novocastrian workers are being shortchanged on super.
Ms Claydon said the analysis, undertaken by Industry Super Australia, showed 17,834 Novocastrians were unpaid or underpaid superannuation in 2013-14.
“The report, which uses official Australian Taxation Office (ATO) data, showed 31 per cent of Newcastle workers didn’t receive their full superannuation entitlements. The average underpayment was $1,988 a year,” Ms Claydon said.
“This is an appalling practice that robs workers and penalises employers who do the right thing.”
Ms Claydon said the problem is compounded because many workers aren’t aware of their legal entitlements.
“The Superannuation Guarantee requires employers to contribute 9.5% in superannuation for all adult workers earning more than $450 a month, but many workers aren’t aware of this,” Ms Claydon said.
“Young workers, low-income earners and workers in construction, cleaning and hospitality are particularly at risk of underpayment. If workers identify underpayments, they should speak to their employer, and if this fails, contact the ATO to report the problem.”
Ms Claydon said the incidence of unpaid superannuation in Newcastle was part of a ‘staggering’ national problem.
“Unpaid superannuation entitlements have been estimated to cost Australian workers $3.6 billion a year,” Ms Claydon said.
“This unpaid money compounds over the course of a person’s working life, depriving workers of tens of thousands of retirement dollars and adding millions to the government’s pension budget.”
Ms Claydon said Labor had initiated a Senate Inquiry into the issue which is due to report on 12 April.
“Unpaid superannuation should be treated as seriously as we would treat unpaid wages,” Ms Claydon said.
“The Turnbull government needs to stand up for workers and show that it has zero tolerance for superannuation underpayments.”