Have you checked your superannuation balance lately?
Article by Leonie O’Shannessy
It’s fair to say that most people don’t read their superannuation statements or log into their superannuation account online. I get it – it’s probably not something that‘s high on their list of priorities because, although the money belongs to them, they can’t use it until later in life.
There is, however, one very important thing you should be doing with your super on a regular basis, and that is checking your balance and the transactions going through the account.
Why should I bother checking my superannuation balance?
What’s the point of logging into an account or looking at a statement that’s telling you how much money you have, if you know you can’t use that money for a long time?
The answer is simple: you need to be checking that your employer is physically paying your superannuation entitlements into your nominated superannuation fund.
I bet you’re thinking, “But employers have to pay super and there are penalties if they don’t.” Yes – all employers should be paying superannuation for their employees. But, although they account for it in their records, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are physically paying the money to your super fund and paying it on time.
“Doesn’t my pay slip tell me how much superannuation my employer has paid for me each pay period?” Yes – the amount that shows up on your pay slip is the amount they are contributing to superannuation for that pay period. But, again, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they have paid that amount to your superannuation fund. Your pay slip is simply providing you information on the amount that they are liable to contribute to super for you.
That’s why you should be checking that you are receiving regular amounts into your superannuation fund.
Employers have the option of when they make superannuation payments – they can pay weekly, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly – however they need to ensure that all super related to a specific quarter is paid by the 28th day of the following month after each quarter. For example, if your employer pays quarterly, you should have received four payments into your superannuation fund over the financial year – one payment by 28 July, another by 28 October, another by 28 January and a final one by 28 April.
What do I do if my employer isn’t paying my super to my nominated superannuation fund?
I’m glad you asked! If you feel like you could speak to your employer about it, then by all means try that first. However, if you feel this is not an option, the next step would be to use the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) web tool – Report unpaid super contributions from my employer. This will notify the ATO, and they can then investigate the situation further.
Can I lose my super?
I am very passionate about this issue. Too many clients and friends of mine have dedicated years of service to a business only to find out that their superannuation entitlements, owed by the company to the employee, have not been paid and the business is now in liquidation. Most people don’t realise this, but once a company goes into liquidation the ATO can’t do anything to retrieve the amount owed, as it is in the liquidator’s hands. Sadly, this generally means that there is not enough money in the business to pay its creditors, including unpaid superannuation.
So, don’t get caught out. Check your superannuation account today and make sure your retirement savings balance is growing!
Where can I find out more?
The ATO website provides information for employees on your superannuation entitlements.
And remember – you can also report unpaid superannuation via the ATO website.