29 August 2017
Media Release - #2017086, 2017

Turnbull Government backs workers on superannuation

The Government today announced a further package of reforms to give the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) near real-time visibility over superannuation guarantee (SG) compliance by employers.

The Government will provide the ATO with additional funding for a Superannuation Guarantee Taskforce to crackdown on employer non-compliance.  The package builds on legislation already announced to close a legal loophole used by unscrupulous employers to short-change employees who make salary-sacrifice contributions to their superannuation.

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said employers’ failure to meet their SG obligations to their employees has been a problem ever since the SG was introduced in 1992.

“Employers who deliberately do not pay their workers’ superannuation entitlements are robbing their workers of their wages. This is illegal and won’t be tolerated,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“The Turnbull Government is taking action to safeguard and modernise the SG so employers can’t hide from their legal duty. We will give all Australians confidence that the superannuation system is working in their best interests.”

The package includes measures to:

  • Require superannuation funds to report contributions received more frequently, at least monthly, to the ATO. This will enable the ATO to identify non-compliance and take prompt action;
  • Bring payroll reporting into the 21st century through the rollout of Single Touch Payroll (STP). Employers with 20 or more employees will transition to STP from 1 July 2018 with smaller employers coming on board from 1 July 2019. This will reduce the regulatory burden on business and transform compliance by aligning payroll functions with regular reporting of taxation and superannuation obligations;
  • Improve the effectiveness of the ATO’s recovery powers, including strengthening director penalty notices and use of security bonds for high-risk employers, to ensure that unpaid superannuation is better collected by the ATO and paid to employees’ super accounts; and
  • Give the ATO the ability to seek court-ordered penalties in the most egregious cases of non-payment, including employers who are repeatedly caught but fail to pay superannuation guarantee liabilities.

The package reflects the key recommendations in the Final Report of the SG Cross-Agency Working Group released on 14 July 2017, which was established by Minster O’Dwyer late last year. The Government did not accept the Working Group’s recommendations to soften penalties for non-compliant employers.