THE federal government needs to make it simpler for workers to check their superannuation via payslips, the member for Indi believes.
Cathy McGowan is glad the government is tackling the problem of lost superannuation, but she believes more action is needed to protect employees from unethical bosses.
“The government needs to consider a recommendation to improve payslip reporting to help employees keep better track of their super payments by providing them with the ability to check their super has actually been paid into their fund,” Ms McGowan told parliament.
She also backed widening the taxpayer-funded safety net to cover superannuation entitlements for workers in cases where an employer goes broke as opposed to just applying to bankrupt and insolvent companies.
Ms McGowan’s speech followed a Senate inquiry which made 32 recommendations on unpaid super.
Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer said last week the government would be adopting many of them.
They include contributions having to be reported at least monthly; beefing up the Australian Taxation Office’s recovery powers for unpaid super; and a single touch payroll system to reduce red tape for businesses but aid tracking.
Ms McGowan noted a 2016 Industry Super Australia and Cbus report that found Indi residents had been underpaid nearly $23 million.
She told of former Wangaratta clothing worker Cheryl Robl who was short-changed more than $8000 after her employer went bankrupt.
“There have been another five constituents who have approached my office with similar stories of lost retirement savings,” Ms McGowan said.
“We have had limited success in working with them to resolve their issues.
“The sensitivity around these losses and the betrayal of trust is such that they are reluctant to make their identities public.
“Ms Robl had previously advised the ATO that her employers had failed to honour the superannuation guarantee charge obligations to her fund.
“She followed the ATO’s formal superannuation recovery process to the letter, but even after the ATO took steps to collect the debt owed to her, she was left empty-handed.
“The ATO closed Ms Robl’s case. The bankruptcy trustee advised her there is no money to claim.”