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$1bn super shortfall for Queensland workers

3 minute read

More than half a million workers have been impacted by unpaid super in Queensland.

Analysis conducted by Industry Super Australia (ISA) has found that unpaid super during the 2018-19 financial year totalled $940 million in Queensland alone.

Over 570,000 individuals representing more than a quarter of the state’s workforce were affected with an average of $1,600 in unpaid super for each worker, which ISA estimated could lead to a reduction in savings of up to $60,000 upon retirement. 

“Super is your money, it should be paid at the same time as wages,” said Industry Super Australia CEO Bernie Dean.

“By not mandating the payment of super with wages, politicians are stopping millions getting what they are owed.”

Cumulative unpaid super debt in Queensland has climbed to $5.5 billion over the past six years.

Young and low-income workers have been the most affected according to ISA, along with those in blue collar jobs and in the hospitality industry.

“Most employers are doing the right thing, but they are being undercut by competitors who are getting away with daylight robbery,” said Mr Dean.

“Paying super with wages is the only way to get workers their money and level the playing field for business.”

ISA argued that not paying super at the same time as wages made it difficult for workers to keep track of their money, leading to payments falling through the cracks.

As well as making the payment of super with wages mandatory, ISA suggested that politicians should make a commitment to increase enforcement activity and require the ATO to issue and publicise penalties for employers that fail to pay super.

“Workers must largely rely on the Australian Tax Office to recover their money as it is difficult to sue for super, but it only recovers a dismal 12 per cent of underpayments annually and rarely punishes dodgy bosses,” ISA said.

The industry body also called for employees and representatives to be empowered to recover unpaid super debts and for the Fair Entitlement Guarantee to be extended to allow workers to recoup their savings when a company goes bankrupt.

Workers in the electorate of Griffith had the highest total unpaid super with $37.3 million followed by the Brisbane electorate with a total of $36.5 million.

Jon Bragg

Jon Bragg

Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.