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What is my Superannuation?

(i) Compulsory Super

  • Work super has been compulsory since 1992.
  • Employers must pay at least an extra 9% of your salary* into a super fund if you earn at least $450.00 a month and if you are between 18 and 70 years old.
  • Your superannuation salary will usually include bonuses, allowances and leave payments but not overtime or workers’ compensation payments.
  • Some industrial awards or agreements provide super benefits in excess of the compulsory superannuation, e.g. super on overtime or make-up pay or an additional 3%.
  • Many subcontractors, couriers, cleaners, owner/drivers and child care workers will qualify as employees for super.
  • From July 2003, your employer must make super contributions at least every 3 months – although many pay contributions every month.
  • Most super policies include extra benefits for disability and death – but not all. (see “Superannuation Disability Benefits” and “Superannuation Death Benefits” fact sheets)

(ii) Choice of Fund

  • From 1 July 2005, most employees can choose which super fund their compulsory contributions are paid into.
  • However, many government employees and those covered by defined benefit funds or awards may have a limited choice or no choice at all.
  • If you have a choice of super funds, you will be given a form when you start a job to nominate a fund. If you don’t nominate a fund your compulsory super will be paid to the ‘default fund’ nominated by your employer.
  • From January 2014 the default fund will usually have to be a ‘MySuper’ fund which has a balanced investment strategy, low fees and charges and compulsory death and disability cover.
  • If you have a choice of super funds, it’s important to check the disability and death insurance cover when deciding which fund to join.
  • Find out the names of the funds and get help to check your cover. See ‘Free Super and Insurance Advice Service’fact sheet.

(iii) To check your Super

  • If you are working or have been employed, check the benefits statements which are sent out by your super fund every year.
  • If you move house, tell your super fund to redirect the statements.
  • Look for your account balance, the contributions paid into the fund in the last year, and your disability and death benefits.
  • To find out what old super funds you might have, check the Lost Members Register at the Australian Taxation Office (visit www.ato.gov.au/super or ring the Infoline on 13 10 20)
  • If you don’t think you’ve got disability and death cover, always double check. Sometimes a statement will say “nil cover” but you might still have had cover when you stopped work.
  • If you are not sure whether you are entitled to any disability benefits, or if you cannot find any of your statements, you should ask your employer, your superannuation fund or someone who has expertise in this area.

(iv) Important note – Get help

  • Sometimes super statements can be wrong and are hard to understand.
  • If you can’t find any statements or if you are not sure of your entitlements, get help. See ‘Free Super and insurance Advice Service‘ fact sheet.

* to increase to 9.25% from 1 July 2013 and then to rise slowly to 12% by 2019/20.

Next Section: What If Superannuation Contributions Aren’t Paid?