When you become an employee for the first time (whether it's a part-time, casual or full-time position), you may be eligible for superannuation (super) payments by your employer.
Super is a way of helping you save for your retirement. By saving small amounts of money from now, you can make sure you have enough to live on when you’re older.
1. Why do I need super?
Super is a good way to save for a number of reasons:
- you can save a little bit at a time over a long period
- it’s a long-term investment. Super funds combine everyone’s small amounts into a large pool, so they often get better investment rates
- super is taxed at a lower rate than most other investments or salary.
2. Who has to pay super?
Generally, if you have a job and are over 18 and get paid $450 or more in a month, your employer must pay money to a super account for you under the super guarantee.
This money must come directly from your employer, not from your pay packet (or gross salary). However, you can put extra money into your super account yourself if you want to.
The money in your super account is invested by the fund on your behalf, and is yours to use when you retire.
3. Does everyone get super from their employer?
The super guarantee covers full-time, part-time and casual employees.
If you are aged 18 or older and get paid $450 or more in a month, your employer must pay super into a super account for you.
There are some employees who are not eligible for super contributions from their employer.
Employees are not eligible for super if they:
- are paid less than $450 (before tax) in a month
- are under 18 years old and work 30 hours or less a week
- are paid to do work of a domestic or private nature for not more than 30 hours a week. For example, a part-time nanny or housekeeper
- are members of the Army, Navy or Air Force Reserve.
4. If I am a contractor, do I get super?
Some contractors are considered employees for super guarantee purposes. If you work as a contractor under a contract that is mainly for labour, your employer must make super contributions on your behalf. This includes contractors who quote an Australian business number (ABN).
A contract is mainly for labour if more than half of the value of the contract is for the person’s labour, which may include:
- physical labour
- mental effort
- artistic effort.
5. How much super must my employer pay?
As from 1 July 2014, Your employer must contribute an amount equal to 9.5% of your ordinary time earnings to your super fund. This is in addition to the money you get paid. Employers must make this payment to your super account quarterly (by October 28, January 28, April 28 and July 28) – or face penalties.
Jane is an administration officer and her ordinary time earnings is $700 per week before tax.
Jane’s total ordinary time earnings for the quarter (13 weeks) is
($700 x 13) = $9,100
Her employer’s super contribution for the quarter is
(9.50% x $9,100) = $864.50
6.Can I get my super now?
No, you can't have it yet. The whole point of super is to keep adding bits over time so that it grows into a nice fat sum for use when you retire. You can't withdraw your super until you reach your earliest retirement age – which is 60 for anyone born after 30 June 1965.
There are exceptional circumstances in which it may be legal to access your super before you reach retirement age. These circumstances are tightly restricted and mainly relate to specific medical conditions or unusually severe financial hardship.
1. Can I choose my own super fund?
You can choose any super fund for your payments as long as it is a complying super fund. A complying super fund meets certain government rules.
If you are eligible choose a fund, your employer must give you a Standard Choice Form (NAT 13080) to complete.
2. What if I don't want to choose a super fund?
You don’t have to choose a super fund if you don’t want to. If you don’t make a choice, your employer’s super contributions will be paid into a fund chosen by your employer that may or may not suit your current needs. You can choose a fund later if you like.
3. How many super accounts do I need?
You may have more than one super account, but you may find it easier to manage your super money if you have just one account.
If you already have more than one super account, consider combining them into one super fund so you pay only one set of fees and costs. Ask your super fund if there are fees or charges for rolling your money over to another fund before you decide.
You can transfer or rollover your super, with some exceptions. If you do so, your old super fund has 30 days to make the transfer. The 30 day period starts once you have provided all necessary information to your fund.
1. How do I put extra money in my super account?
Your super fund or your employer can provide information on how to make extra payments to your super account. If you put in extra, you may qualify for extra money under the Australian Government Superannuation co-contribution scheme.
2. What is the super co-contribution?
The super co-contribution is a payment made by the government into the super fund for eligible people on low to middle incomes to boost their super savings. You may be eligible for the super co-contribution from the government if you make personal super contributions to your fund.
3. Can I salary sacrifice super?
Salary or wages can be 'sacrificed' into super. That is, you can arrange for your employer to put a part of your before-tax salary into your super account for you.
Your payroll or human resources officer can tell you how to set up a salary sacrifice arrangement.
There is no legal requirement for employers or employees to enter a salary sacrifice arrangement.
1. How can I keep track of my super?
Here are some ways to keep track of your super:
- your super fund will send you a member statement at least once a year
- make sure your employer and super fund have your current contact details
- try not to have more than one super fund so keeping track is easier
- check your balance, employer’s contributions, fees deducted, cost of any additional covers and closing balance
- tell your fund your tax file number (TFN) or you may pay extra tax
- if you have questions, contact your super fund, or for general super information, contact us
- use tax time (when you complete your annual tax return) as a reminder to check that your super is in order.
2. How do I find my lost super?
SuperSeeker can help you track down your lost super. To use SuperSeeker, you must provide your:
- date of birth
- tax file number.
You can access SuperSeeker:
SuperSeeker is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
3. I found my lost super, what now?
If you find your lost super, you may want to combine all your super into one account and potentially save on administration fees.
You can transfer super from one fund to another using the Request to transfer whole balance of superannuation benefits between funds.
Talk to your super fund for more information.
4. What happens to my super account if I change jobs?
Your present employer will stop contributing to your existing super fund when you leave your job. You may nominate your existing super fund for your new job or you could choose for the super fund nominated by your new employer.
Why should I give my TFN to my super fund?
If your super fund does not have your tax file number (TFN):
- your fund may have to pay extra income tax on contributions your employer makes for you (including salary sacrifice) and may take this extra money out of your super account
- your fund may not accept some contributions, such as your personal contributions
- you may miss out on the super co-contribution.
5. What if I think my employer is not paying my super?
If you’re concerned about unpaid super guarantee contributions, follow these steps.
Talk to your employer. Ask them:
- How often are they currently paying your super?
- Which fund are they paying it into?
- How much they are paying?
It’s a good idea to ask these sorts of questions when you start work with an employer.
Check your last member statement from your super fund, or contact them, to confirm that your employer has paid your super.
If you have completed steps 1 and 2 and still believe your employer is not paying enough or any super, or is not paying the super into your chosen fund, you can lodge an enquiry about unpaid super.
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Some of the advice and guidance on this website applies to a specific financial year. This is clearly marked. Make sure you have the information for the right year before making decisions based on that information.
If you feel that our advice and guidance does not fully cover your circumstances, or you are unsure how it applies to you, please contact us.