Senator Jane Hume has called out employers that lock their employees into super funds, saying it was “crazy” that people weren’t permitted a choice.
Ms Hume said that thousands of workers are being forced into some of the “worst-performing default products” and to hold multiple accounts as a result of restrictions specified by enterprise agreements.
“While the government’s recent changes to cap fees and ban exit fees will at least prevent these accounts from being eroded to zero, these people are still being forced to open and pay for a super account they don’t want or need,” Ms Hume told the SMSF Association Annual Conference on 19 February.
“This is unacceptable. It’s inefficient. It’s ultimately reduces peoples’ savings for retirement. And this government is going to fix it.”
Ms Hume appeared to call out Kmart in particular, referring to a retailer “whose name starts with K and ends with T”. Kmart has previously been criticised for forcing employees to open an account with REST, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employee’s Association (SDA)-affiliated superannuation fund.
Ms Hume said that the government’s “Your Superannuation, Your Choice” Bill would not impact the ability of workers to collectively bargain over the default super fund covering a workplace while ensuring people can nominate their preferred super product.
“It doesn’t prevent a default fund being specified in an award,” Ms Hume said.
“And given the current state of inertia in the system, most workers will probably stay in that default fund. But for those who are engaged with their super, if they are happy with their existing fund – they should have the right to direct their employer’s super contributions there.”
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