Ms Sharkie introduced the Fair Work Amendment (Recovering Unpaid Superannuation) bill into the House of Representatives yesterday.
The bill would remove a loophole that currently allows employers to count voluntary contributions as employer contributions.
It would also remove the $450 monthly incomes threshold. Under the current rules, employers are not required to pay the superannuation guarantee to workers whose monthly earnings are below the threshold.
In addition, the proposed legislation would make it easier for employees to track when their employer contributions are paid; make super contributions part of the National Employment Standards; and create a duty for super fund trustees to inform employees of non-payment within 28 days of the payment not being made.
“There are at least 2.4 million workers in this country who have been underpaid their super, ripping out $3.6 billion from retirement savings,” Ms Sharkie said.
“If we don’t do something to make it easier for workers to find out that they haven’t been paid their full entitlements, and give them more power to stand up for their rights, that retirement rip-off is going to balloon out to $66 billion by 2024, according to Industry Super Australia.”
Industry Super Australia, the lobby group representing industry funds, issued a statement in support of the new bill, with the group’s public affairs director Matt Linden saying unpaid super should be a “top priority” for government.
“Every month that goes by without action is costing workers hundreds of millions in unpaid super,” he said.
“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.”
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