Cbus Super, the leading fund for blue-collar workers, welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Your Future, Your Super (YFYS) review.
The Cbus submission to the review recommends that the stapling provision in the YFYS laws be urgently addressed so that more workers in hazardous occupations - and their families - are not put at risk, left uninsured or disadvantaged by the unintended consequences of this law.
Building and construction is the third highest sector for fatalities in the workplace sharing a top quintile risk rating with emergency services, including policing and paramedicine*.
Cbus has paid $11.8 million to teenagers or members in their 20s who have been killed or injured at work (to 31 August 2022) under the Dangerous Occupation Exemption which only a handful of funds offer.
Justin Arter, Cbus CEO says that the stapling provision is doing more harm than good for workers in hazardous occupations, with workers and their families facing options such as crowdfunding after a serious workplace incident.
“As we call out in our submission, depending on the kindness of strangers if tragedy strikes is not a good enough insurance plan,” he said.
“Cbus workplace coordinators are increasingly seeing apprentices and young people on construction sites without any level of insurance cover.
“This is because many young people move into new jobs in construction but are stapled to the fund of their first job that likely won’t include insurance, or if it does is likely to include occupational exclusions. This means despite the real life daily risks workers face in their new construction job, they are not insured for working at heights and with heavy machinery.
“Workers in their first year of membership at Cbus consistently have the highest rates of claim of all members**.
“These laws leave the most at-risk cohort – young, new to the job and inexperienced – also the group least likely to think about insurance, or super for that matter, exposed.
“Australian workers moving into hazardous sectors like building and construction deserve superannuation legislation that recognises their unique needs and protects them.”
As a result of existing and successful public policy, Cbus is one of few funds that can provide important default cover for young workers under 25 and with low balances following the Dangerous Occupation Exemption (DOE) implemented by the Parliament two and a half years ago.
The proof of the success of this policy in supporting workers and their families when they most need it is the figures. Due to the exemption, a total of 184,500 Cbus members have either retained insurance cover or been provided automatic cover, and over $36 million in claims has been paid out to members and their families (as at 31 August 2022, including the aforementioned $11.8 million to young members).
Examples of insurance claims under the DOE in the Cbus submission include a payout to the family of a 22-year-old who died of head injuries and left behind his partner and 6-month-old baby. And a 16-year-old member who suffered a terrible accident amounting to total and permanent disability.
Cbus recommends in the submission that the policy of arbitrarily stapling members to their first fund, without regard for the performance of that fund or the appropriateness of their insurance offering for the member, should be abandoned. Or alternatively, that workers in hazardous occupations should be excluded from the stapling regime, defaulting instead into the fund named in their EBA or award.
The terms of Cbus’ insurance are unique in the insurance market. Our group insurance policy is one of the largest globally, and we have negotiated the policy to respond to the needs of our membership***. This results in industry leading claim payout rates and superior member experience at a time in life when members most need support.
Media enquiries: Tristan Douglas, 0417 736 434 or firstname.lastname@example.org
*Safe Work Australia, Work-related traumatic injury fatalities Australia. www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/work-related-traumatic-injury-fatalities-australia-2020
**Over a five year period (January 2016 to December 2020 being the most recent data), both individually and on average.
***Insurance is issued under a group policy with our insurer, TAL Life Limited ABN 70 050 109 450 AFSL 237848.
Cbus is the leading Industry Super Fund representing those that help shape Australia. As one of Australia’s largest super funds, we provide superannuation and income stream accounts to more than 850,000 members and we manage more than $70 billion of our members’ money (as at 30 June 2022). Our members include workers and retirees, their families and employers. As of April 2022, Media Super is now a division of Cbus, offering Media Super products. For more than 30 years Media Super has been the industry super fund for Print, Media, Entertainment and Arts, and broader creative industries.
United Super Pty Ltd ABN 46 006 261 623 AFSL 233792 as Trustee for the Construction and Building Unions Superannuation Fund ABN 75 493 363 262 offering Cbus and Media Super products (Cbus, Cbus Super and / or Media Super).