Queensland workers are losing on more than $1.1 billion a year due to the unpaid super, analysis by the Industry Super Australia (ISA) has found.
According to the study, the average Queensland worker was losing $1,994 a year, with the worst-affected occupations being machinery operators, tradies, construction workers and hospitality workers.
Also, the super underpayments hit young low-income workers, with research showing almost half of those under-30 who earn less than $30,000 were the victim of a super rip-off.
According to ISA, this was mostly due to an outdated law which only required super to be paid quarterly and not in line with pay cycles instead of mandating super payment on payday which would make it much harder for bosses to tip off workers.
Instead super should be included in the National Employment Standard, which would allow workers and their representatives the legal right to pursue any super they’ve had stolen from them, ISA said.
“Across the state Queensland workers are losing thousands from having their super stolen, no area is immune. Unpaid super blasts a hole in workers’ savings, making a huge difference to their quality of life in retirement,” ISA’s chief executive, Bernie Dean, said.
“The only way to put an end to Queensland’s $1.1 billion super rip-off is to make super payable on payday.”
The study also found that the Australian Taxation office (ATO) rarely issued a maximum penalty for unpaid super and only recovered a fraction of members’ money – meaning an effective amnesty for dodgy bosses already existed.
“Not only are workers impacted but employers who do the right thing and pay their legal entitlements are able to be undercut by unscrupulous competitors,” ISA said.