Business is stealing nearly $6b a year in superannuation from working people in Australia, a new report from Industry Super Australia has found.

The report shows that people most likely to have their super stolen are:

–           Under 35

–           Working in blue-collar occupations

–           Paid $30,000 or less a year

Superannuation theft affects 2.85 million working people in Australia, the report finds, and someone under 35 paid less than $30,000 in a blue-collar role is more likely to have super stolen than to be paid correctly.

While more than a quarter of employees in every state and territory are likely to be underpaid, employees in the Northern Territory are most likely to have super stolen, with the report finding that one in three working people in the NT who should receive the superannuation guarantee were not being paid correctly.

The report recommends:

–           That super be paid concurrent with wages instead of quarterly

–           Better monitoring and enforcement

–           Using the penalties currently available to deter super theft

These recommendations included an acknowledgement that the ATO carries out too little pro-active enforcement and other agencies should be given greater scope to recover unpaid super.


Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly:

“Working people have a right to a dignified and comfortable retirement. That’s why previous generations have foregone pay rises to establish the superannuation system.

“The fact that many employers feel they can help themselves to their employees’ superannuation funds is disgraceful and is robbing working people of the chance to enjoy their retirement. Targeting young people is particularly low.

“Scott Morrison has failed to protect the retirement of working people – particularly young people, blue-collar workers and those on low incomes.

“Superannuation is an industrial right, and workers should be able to recover stolen superannuation through the industrial system. Labor has committed to this and to take real action on unpaid super.

“The Morrison Government is more committed to granting an amnesty for super thieves than they are in recovering workers’ stolen super. 

“We need to change the rules to make sure people can recover the super they’re owed. Working people shouldn’t have to wait for the ATO to chase up underpayments. They should have fast, efficient access to justice when their super is unpaid.”