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Rest calls for removal of minimum work hours for super

Rest has urged the Australian government to remove the minimum hours rule for the superannuation guarantee to apply.

Research conducted for Rest by CRNRSTONE found 82% of Australians think the law should be changed so that Australian workers - many of which are under 18 - can earn superannuation regardless of how many hours they work.

Currently, workers under the age of 18 are only eligible for compulsory Superannuation Guarantee payments from their employer if they work more than 30 hours per week, although some employers already voluntarily pay this.

The research also found that 66% of Australians were not aware of this rule, and 77% said the rule was unfair.

Rest chief executive Vicki Doyle called for the government to remove the rule and said making the change would ensure everyone, including young workers in retail or fast-food jobs, gets a fair start with their superannuation.

"Rest represents around one million members aged 30 or younger, so we know how beneficial it is for members to set themselves up for their best-possible retirement from day one," Doyle said.

"We have a very clear ask of government. Every worker under the age of 18 should earn super regardless of how many hours they work.

"This change would mean that every young Australian can engage with and benefit from our super system from the day they earn their very first dollar."

Industry modelling found the change could have a positive financial impact on young Australians, with the average under-18-year-old potentially boosting their age-67 retirement balance by over $10,000 in today's dollars.

"This change will provide a real financial boost for so many young people, who've carried a significant burden in recent years through the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. It will also help deepen the connection young people feel with their super from their first day in their first job," Doyle said.

More than 90% of under-18 workers work fewer than 30 hours per week, and nearly three quarters of them work in the accommodation and food services and retail trade industries.

"Some employers, such as IKEA Australia, already voluntarily provide superannuation contributions to all their under-18 workers, regardless of hours worked," Doyle said.

"However, we know this change is likely to have an impact on a number of employers, particularly small and medium businesses, who employ part-time or casual workers.

"This change is crucial for the future of young Australians and an opportunity for the superannuation industry to work together with employers to improve member outcomes. This is why we're advocating for a detailed consultation process and a multi-year staged implementation, which appropriately considers the feedback from all stakeholders."

Read more: RestSuperannuation GuaranteeVicki DoyleCRNRSTONE