In good news, the federal government just announced they’re making employers pay superannuation on payday, rather than quarterly, to crack down on superannuation theft. At the Young Workers Centre, we see that too many dodgy and broke employers use the fact there is a delay for when they need to deposit super into their employees’ accounts to hide from young workers that they’re having their wages stolen. Unfortunately, this change is not being brought in until 2026 so it’s SUPER important that young workers know about superannuation theft and the steps you can take to win it back.
Superannuation theft is wage theft that hurts workers for decades.
Young workers are particularly vulnerable to superannuation theft. And worse, our laws make it so workers under 18 aren’t eligible for super (unless they work 30+ hours a week) so many workers start their working life not knowing it’s something they must receive.
With super, we are often not taught the importance and it can feel hard to care when we have immediate concerns in front of us like shitty, expensive rentals and rising costs of everything. It can be easy to keep it out of sight, out of mind. But if your boss is stealing superannuation from you now, they’re stealing tens of thousands from your future retirement because of compound interest (basically when your money is left to grow and make more money!)
We should care because this is a massive generational injustice, and we shouldn't have to deal with our bosses stealing from us. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) conservatively estimates there is about $3.4 billion in unpaid super each year - that's $3.4 billion that employers are stealing from workers - $3.4 billion (at least) that employers -generally older people - are taking from employees who are often young workers.
The ATO chasing down non-compliance is good, but this is a huge job and it requires a culture shift more than anything. In Victoria we have wage theft laws that allow the wage inspectorate to prosecute wage theft -including super theft- as a crime. We need to see wage theft laws that are as strong as Victoria’s, across the country.
RED FLAGS to look out for:
x No payslips
x Cash in hand
X no superannuation info on the payslip
x sham contracting
TIPS to make sure you're getting paid your super correctly:
+ Check your super account regularly, as you would your bank account
+ Make sure you just have ONE super account. You can merge super accounts easily on myGov, and this will make it so you save money on fees and can keep track of your super easily.
+ Contact the Young Workers Centre if you’re in Victoria and under 30 and suspect that you’re getting your superannuation stolen from you.
+ report it to the ATO