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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 14973

Ms Jackson asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 19 August 2002:

(1) What mechanisms and processes are in place to alert employees to the fact that they are being underpaid their superannuation guarantee contributions by their employer, as stipulated in the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act.

(2) What mechanisms does the Australian Taxation Office have in place to check that employers are paying their superannuation guarantee contributions (SGC) as stipulated in the Act.

(3) Why is there no requirement for employers to report all SGCs on employee payslips.

(4) Is the Minister aware that if an employer does not pay an employee's SGC monthly, that employee may not be covered by the death and disability insurance offered by his or her superannuation fund.

(5) Is the Minister also aware that through the delay to introduce the requirement for employers to pay SGCs quarterly, hundreds of thousands of Australian workers will miss out on significant superannuation monies, which would have accrued through compound interest.

Mr Costello (Treasurer) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The ATO informs employees of their SG entitlements through a range of education and communication activities, including phone, print, radio, television and the internet.

(2) The ATO has a comprehensive compliance strategy for SG. This involves a mixture of audit and education/communication activities, including:

· Investigation of all complaints made by employees;

· Investigation of complaints made by superannuation providers and other members of the community;

· Investigation of employers identified as `at risk' from other ATO activities, such as debt collection and field visits/audits; and

· Investigation of employers identified as `at risk' from analysis of data available to the ATO.

(3) The Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 does not require employers to do so. The Taxation Laws Amendment (Superannuation) Act (No 2) 2002 amended the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 requiring employers from 1 July 2003 to report to an employee in relation to the amount of contribution/s paid to a Superannuation Fund. The Taxation Laws Amendment (Superannuation) Bill (No 2) 2002 was introduced on 16 May 2002 and received Royal Assent on 29 June 2002.

(4) In framing the SG law, consideration was given to a range of factors, including the objectives of making superannuation safer and ensuring fairness between employees, while at the same time not imposing significant additional costs on employers. Taking all factors into account, the Government considered that a quarterly SG regime provides the best overall outcome.

(5) In introducing the quarterly SG regime, consideration was given to a range of factors, including the benefits to employees and the need for business to change systems to comply with the new arrangements. Taking all factors into account, the Government considered that a 1 July 2003 start date provides the best overall outcome.