29 March 2023

Government enshrines workers’ right to superannuation


Joint media release with 

The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for the Arts

The Hon Stephen Jones MP
Assistant Treasurer
Minister for Financial Services

The Albanese Labor Government is moving to protect more workers from underpayment of superannuation contributions.

New legislation to be introduced into Parliament this week will enshrine a right to superannuation payments in the National Employment Standards.

This measure is part of the Albanese Labor Government’s Protecting Worker Entitlements Bill.

Minister for Workplace Relations Tony Burke said the change would allow workers not covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement that contains a right to superannuation to take direct legal action for recovery of unpaid superannuation.

“This Government stands against all forms of wage theft and worker exploitation,” Minister Burke said.

“Superannuation theft undermines the efforts of Australian workers to build a financially secure retirement.”

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said Labor will always back in superannuation.

“We want to make sure Australian workers receive and benefit from the superannuation contributions they’re entitled to.

“This is part of our broader plan to ensure the superannuation system is the best version of itself.

“Our Government will do everything we can to protect super and help deliver a dignified retirement to hardworking Australians.”

Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones said it’s critical all Australian workers have access to superannuation.

“We created superannuation and we believe in it, that’s why the Albanese Government is strengthening the superannuation system so that it is equitable, sustainable and delivers for all Australian workers.”

Currently, workers not covered by a modern award or an enterprise agreement containing a term requiring an employer to make superannuation contributions are reliant on the Australian Taxation Office intervening to recover lost superannuation and receive their rightful entitlements.

This change will complement the ATO’s powers, providing the strongest possible protection for employees against unpaid super.

The ATO’s most recent estimate of unpaid superannuation indicates that workers lost $3.4 billion in unpaid super in 2019‑20.

“It is simply not good enough that employees are missing out on their superannuation. No employee should have their retirement incomes sabotaged by dodgy or negligent employers,” Minister Burke said.

“This legislation will increase the number of employees who will have the right to directly pursue superannuation owed to them. Employers may also face civil penalties if they do not comply with the entitlement.

“We made an election commitment to amend the Fair Work Act to include a right to superannuation and now we are delivering for Australian workers.”