The Federal government will use the May budget to announce targets for the Australia Tax Office (ATO) to chase down billions of dollars of unpaid superannuation owed to employees.
Tougher penalties could be applied to employers who don’t play their workers full wages and superannuation on time under the crackdown.
The May budget will set out new targets to ensure unpaid superannuation finds its way back to employees’ accounts.
Industry Super Australia (ISA) says $4.3 billion in super wasn’t paid to about 2.5 million employees in 2019-2020 – with $33 billion worth of unpaid super in the financial years between 2013-2014 and 2019-2020.
Speaking to the ABC, assistant treasurer Stephen Jones said underpaying, or not paying superannuation at all is a form of wage theft and should be treated as such.
“We think unpaid super should be treated in the same way as wage theft,” he said.
“If you are deliberately not paying your workers superannuation, you are stealing money from them.”
The government also hopes the crackdown will ensure businesses know their obligations when it comes to paying their workers superannuation.
To make sure super is being paid, a Senate inquiry recommends the government aligns the payment of super with wages – currently employers are only obligated to pay super at least once a quarter.
Aligning payments would mean it would make it harder for businesses to go without paying superannuation, and would also be a benefit to the employee – with more regular payments being rewarded with more frequent payments.