We have discussed previously the lack of interest many people have in their superannuation, and how it can have a serious impact on retirement lifestyle. Now let’s consider another issue with superannuation that will result in many Australians, through no fault of their own, facing a retirement of poverty.
The employer guaranteed contribution should be just that – guaranteed – but employers can sometimes be behind in their payments without it being noticed (hopefully Superstream will dramatically reduce this possibility). How can you determine if you are receiving your benefits? Simply looking at your payslip isn’t enough. The figure beside ‘superannuation contribution’ is a number on a piece of paper, and nothing more. While it indicates what you should be getting paid into super, it doesn’t guarantee it. The same applies to you PAYG amount on the payslip, but you are sure to notice a missing paycheque in your bank account. Because super is essentially inaccessible until retirement, it is harder to stay up-to-date with payments.
So, what can you do to ensure your super is being paid?
Check your member statement. You should be receiving one every year (usually around August to October, depending on your fund), and it is fairly straightforward to check the amount contributed for the year against the amount detailed on your payslips. There is a short grace period for employers between when they record payments and when those payments are due (the April – June Quarter isn’t due until July 28), so the figures may not match exactly, but they should be pretty close.
Discuss your concerns with your employer. Small business owners can get behind in all sorts of administrative duties, including superannuation contributions, so it is worth having an open conversation with your employer. Hopefully this is enough to rectify the situation and encourage them to stay on top of payments, but if issues occur repeatedly or they are evasive or dismissive of your concerns, you may have to take further action.
Visit the myGov website. myGov was set up to provide individuals with easy access to things like tax, child support, Medicare and superannuation details. Log in and check to see that your super is being paid on time and in full.
If you are still unsure or dissatisfied, you can lodge an enquiry with the ATO and they may launch an investigation to resolve the issue.
By Jennifer Lowe