Pay super with wages – change the law now

29 August 2017

Reports today that the ATO is cracking down on rogue employers who have ripped off workers to the tune of $17 billion in unpaid superannuation is good news but Cbus urges the Government to go further to address the widespread and serious problem which affects hundreds of thousands of workers in the construction and building industry.

David Atkin, Chief Executive Officer for Cbus welcomed tougher compliance measures for those employers that are breaching the law but noted the most urgent priority was for the Government to legislate to align payment of super with wages.

“No matter how you cut it, unpaid super is a big problem that requires a big response from Government and regulators,” Mr Atkin said.  

"Workers superannuation is not an ATM that can be used by companies short of cash, it's deferred wages for someone's future.

"We know that paying super with wages will go a long way in stopping non-payment – it’s common sense and reflects community expectations.

“By the ATO Commissioner’s own admission of the scale of the problem, the antiquated quarterly payment system isn’t working for workers or businesses.

“The millions of dollars of unpaid super contributions not paid into Cbus makes it harder for our members in retirement and increases reliance on the age pension.

"Strengthening the current compliance regime including by holding directors personally responsible for non-payment of super as reports suggest are moves in the right direction.

"These measures are important in redressing the unfair playing field for the vast majority of employers who adhere to the law and pay their employees super.

“We await the release of further detail by the Minister and look forward to participating in any consultation to ensure the interests of our members are improved through these changes.”

Mr Atkin also urged workers to get into the habit of checking their super contributions like they check their wages have been paid.

“At Cbus, our mobile app makes it really easy for members to check their super account balances and payments on the go,” Mr Atkin said.

“This is simple step workers can take to make sure they are getting paid.”

A joint Cbus and Industry Super Australia report released in December 2016 exposed the multi-billion worker rip off and was a catalyst for a Senate Inquiry that has brought greater focus to this important issue.


Media contact: Carla De Campo, 0410 579 575