Superannuation is often something workers don’t consider until later in their working lives. But having a good understanding of your super entitlements can make a big difference.
Here’s a quick rundown on what you need to know about super.
What is super?
Super is the portion of your salary that is reserved in a fund for your retirement. These payments are referred to as super guarantee (SG) contributions.
Why do we need super?
Super is intended to provide workers with financial security in retirement. Workers with access to super are less reliant on the age pension to fund their retirement years. A healthy super balance can also support a retirement lifestyle that is more comparable to the lifestyle of your working years.
How much super should I be paid?
Currently in Australia, employees should be paid 9.5% of their wages into super. There are some exceptions – for example, super does not need to be paid to workers earning less than $450 per month – but the majority of workers are eligible for super.
Super has to be paid at least every three months into your nominated super fund. Your super payments should appear on your pay slip.
What is ‘super co-contribution’?
Many IEU-QNT members have access to super co-contribution under their collective agreement (the legal document outlining their working conditions, negotiated by our union).
Super co-contribution allows employees to receive additional super from their employer (above the 9.5% SG rate) when they also contribute a portion of their salary to super.
For example, Queensland Catholic schools employees can choose to access one of the below super co-contribution options:
Employer contribution (includes 9.5% SG)
If you want to access this provision and it’s available under your collective agreement, simply write to your employer requesting access to the scheme.
If you’re unsure whether this entitlement is available to you, contact our union for support via firstname.lastname@example.org, 1800 177 938 (QLD) or 1800 351 996 (NT).
How did super come about?
Super is one of the enduring wins of the union movement – universal super dates back to ‘accords’ formed between unions and the Hawke government in the 1980s.
The current compulsory super system as we know it was introduced in 1992.
Why is super in the news so much lately?
Under legislation initiated by the former Labor government in 2013, the SG rate was scheduled to rise to 12% by 2019.
However, the SG was frozen at 9.5% by the Abbott government in 2014. Under current legislation, the SG should increase to 10% later this year and continue to increase incrementally until it reaches 12% in 2025.
Super has been in the news as the federal government is likely to further delay or abandon SG increases altogether. You can read more about that here.
Our union, and other unions across the country, are fighting for promised increases to super to be delivered to workers.
We’ll keep members updated about progress on this issue.
What’s the ‘super gap’?
The term ‘super gap’ is often used to describe the inequality faced by some workers and, in particular, women workers. On average, women retire with 47% less super than men.
Much of this gap is fuelled by women having interrupted careers, lower paid jobs and part-time roles, as well as undertaking unpaid caring duties.
Sadly, women aged over 55 are the fastest growing cohort of homeless Australians.
You can read more about this issue and what unions are doing to address it here.
Where can I find out more?
If you’d like to read more about super, check out the super tag on our website.
You can also contact our union for advice about your workplace entitlements or reach out to your super fund for information about your account.
Note: IEU-QNT is not a financial advisor. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice that relates to your personal circumstances.