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2TM Regional News

'Daylight robbery': Thousands of workers owed superannuation

Data supplied by Industry Super Australia.

Tamworth workers are being "ripped-off" with data showing more than 18,000 wage-earners missed out on a total of $31 million in just one year.

Research indicates employees are losing out on thousands as some bosses take advantage of loopholes in super laws and workers' disengagement with managing their super account.

For the seat of New England, data from Industry Super Australia shows during the 2016/17 financial year 18,073 residents were underpaid, which is 35 per cent of eligible workers.

It costs the region's workers about $31 million a year, and the average underpayment is $1,715. In Australia, there is $5.9 billion of superannuation owing.

Industry Super Australia CEO Bernie Dean said this issue continues to be a recurring nightmare for workers, especially in New England.

His comments come in the wake of the announcement that bosses who haven't paid workers' superannuation entitlements will be given a one-off amnesty.

Legislation was passed parliament on Monday to let employers off the hook for non-compliance with the retirement savings guarantee.

Mr Dean said although this was a significant step in ensuring workers received their money, more needs to be done.

"Currently, employers are only required to pay super into a worker's account quarterly, so what's on a payslip may not reflect the actual payment," he said.

"That the onus is on workers themselves to check they're being paid a fundamental entitlement is quite unreasonable."

Mr Dean said the company wants to see legislation that requires all employers to pay super at the same time as paying wages.

"The minute you move away from capital cities, that generally have a higher proportion of stable and more employment options, that is where you find the problem hotspots.

"Some bosses know there is no cop on the beat and they know the laws are loose, and it is daylight robbery."

Mr Dean acknowledged a lot of the employers are doing the right thing, but the dodgy ones are impacting the wider community.

He said two keys issues need to be dealt with, and the first is the employers who take advantage.

"During that quarter you might have employees who are leaving and don't get paid, or if the employer finds they can get away with on the first quarter then they are just going to keep on doing it," he said.


"Then we have a workforce who are just assuming they get paid."

Mr Dean said losing out of this money can have a considerable impact on residents when they eventually retire.

"Retirement might be a way off but if you miss out on having money put into your account when your younger, you will miss out on the investment and interest returns that can supercharge that small amount of money for when you retire," he said.

"For many of these workers, they don't think about superannuation, and it can go on for years, and sadly it is going to be too late unless the law changes."


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