A Bill that's aligning super guarantee payments to the wage cycle, abolishing the monthly $450 threshold, and granting the Fair Work Ombudsman greater power to recoup unpaid super has been introduced in Parliament.
Rebekha Sharkie, federal member for Mayo, South Australia and a member of the Nick Xenophon Team, introduced the Private Member's Bill to the House of Representatives today.
Sharkie said it aims to address the shortcomings of the current superannuation system that's resulted in billions of unpaid super.
The Fair Work Amendment (Recovering Unpaid Superannuation) Bill 2017 seeks to strengthen the superannuation system by allowing employees to effectively track super contributions by requiring employers to provide notice when contributions are made, and "a direct legal avenue to recover unpaid superannuation."
Trustees of superannuation entities will also need to take greater responsibility in notifying members (within 28 days) whether or not they have received a regular contribution. Such notifications would include an employee changing employers.
Superannuation providers will be required to provide information on each employer that made contributions, the amount, and any other voluntary contributions to the Commissioner for Taxation in their annual Member Information Statements or Member Contribution Statements.
The condition that sees employers exempt from paying super to employees earning less than $450 in a calendar month will be removed, along with the current loophole that allows employers to claim contributions via salary-sacrifice.
The Bill also proposed "removing restrictions on choice of superannuation fund, as effected via certain agreements and workplace determinations, from 1 July 2018" that would no longer see employees constrained to adopting a super fund as determined by workplace-related agreements.
Industry Super Australia public affairs director, Matt Linden welcomed the Bill, adding unpaid super of millions of hard-working Australians should be a top priority for the government.
"Unpaid super is the number one issue in superannuation today - it is leaving Australians short of savings at retirement and placing extra pressure on the Age Pension," he said.
The Bill would introduce significant new safeguards as soon as 1 July 2018 and these measures will benefit part-time and casual workers, and women whose super savings are falling seriously short at retirement, Linden said.
The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) also welcomed the Xenophon team's introduction of the legislation, particularly the removal of the $450 monthly, outdated income threshold.
AIST chief executive Eva Scheerlinck said that the threshold impedes on the ability of people working multiple jobs to save for their retirement.
"We have examples where someone is working for three or four employers but aren't hitting the income requirements for superannuation from any one of them. If we want superannuation to be truly universal then the threshold must go, particularly with the increasing casualisation of the workforce," she said.