Workers missing out on $147m in super: REST

Less than one in ten Australians are aware of the $450 superannuation guarantee threshold according to new research from REST Industry Super.

The Future of Work, a whitepaper commissioned by REST to understand the different expectations of employers and employees in a changing workforce, highlights a lack of awareness among Australian workers of the $450 per month income threshold and eligibility, disproportionally affecting Australian women.

According to REST chief officer Damian Hill, the fact that 40% of part-time employees and 47% of contingent workers surveyed believe they are paid the superannuation guarantee from the first dollar they earn is a cause for concern.

"The lack of awareness of the superannuation guarantee threshold is particularly troubling as traditional employment methods continue to change, with an increasing number of young Australians taking up part-time, or contingent work," Hill said.

"A large number of Australians appear to believe they're being paid the superannuation guarantee in circumstances where they won't be. This is a growing problem, particularly among young women who work multiple jobs, and earn less in each role than previously."

The research also found that less than half of employees (44%) surveyed believe that everyone has access to income protection insurance, regardless of their employment status.

"As we shift towards a more contingent workforce, access to income protection insurance is more important than ever, as most of these roles don't provide paid leave in the event of illness or injury that require an extended period off work," Hill said.

The majority of contingent workers (56%) nominated the ability to work as their health allowed as a benefit of working on a contingent basis, highlighting the broader benefits of this type of working arrangement.

"Our research indicates that this is one of the reasons contingent working is increasing workforce participation," Hill said.

The whitepaper calls for policy makers, employees and employers to consider how employees can have functional work arrangements that span insurance, work patterns and superannuation, when 70% of the workforce expects it will be the norm for people to pick up extra work through job-related websites or apps.

"This dramatic shift in working arrangements, in which Australians are earning the equivalent of a full-time wage but from multiple sources, means that it is more important than ever that Australians have functional superannuation and insurance arrangements in place," Hill said.

"The contingent workforce is here to stay, and it's up to us to ensure that it works for all Australians, particularly women, who account for nearly three-quarters of the contingent workforce in Australia."

Research was conducted by Lonergan Research between May and June 2016. It surveyed 1701 employers and employees.

Read more: AustraliaAustraliansREST Industry SuperDamian HillFuture of WorkLonergan Research
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