Queensland workers owed $5.5 billion in unpaid super

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on January 11, 2022 Fact Checked
Queensland workers owed $5.5 billion in unpaid super

New analysis revealed that 570,000 Queensland workers were not paid $940 million in super in 2018/19 alone.

This brings the total amount of unpaid superannuation debt to $5.5 billion over the past six years.

Industry Super Australia (ISA) revealed that a quarter of Queensland workers were underpaid on average $1,600.

When they reach retirement, these Queenslanders could retire with $60,000 less according to ISA.

People most likely to be underpaid are young workers and low income workers, and underpayments are widespread across blue collar jobs and hospitality.

Industry Super Australia Chief Executive Bernie Dean called the issue a "$1 billion a year rip off" on a quarter of Queensland workers that "politicians won't fix".

"Super is your money, you should get it paid at the same time you get your wages," Mr Dean said.

"By not mandating the payment of super with wages, politicians are stopping millions getting what they are owed."

Griffith and Brisbane workers rack up most unpaid super

ISA also revealed the amount of unpaid super sorted by Queensland federal electorate. 

Griffith and Brisbane topped the list with the total amount of unpaid super coming in at $37.3 million and $36.5 million respectively.

Below are the top 10 Queensland federal electorates where workers tallied up the biggest unpaid super debts:

  1. Griffith: 28% of electorate were underpaid; average of $1,627 per person; $37.3 million total unpaid super
  2. Brisbane: 25% of electorate were underpaid; average of $1,597 per person; $36.5 million total unpaid super
  3. Fisher: 30% of electorate were underpaid; average of $1,793 per person; $35.8 million total unpaid super
  4. Lilley: 29% of electorate were underpaid; average of $1,728 per person; $35.7 million total unpaid super
  5. Moncrieff: 30% of electorate were underpaid; average of $1,647 per person; $35.7 million total unpaid super
  6. Fadden: 30% of electorate were underpaid; average of $1,680 per person; $35.3 million total unpaid super
  7. McPherson: 29% of electorate were underpaid; average of $1,795 per person; $35 million total unpaid super
  8. Leichhardt: 30% of electorate were underpaid; average of $1,579 per person; $34.6 million total unpaid super
  9. Rankin: 27% of electorate were underpaid; average of $1,799 per person; $34 million total unpaid super
  10. Oxley: 28% of electorate were underpaid; average of $1,579 per person; $33.5 million total unpaid super

ISA calls on politicians to help Queensland workers recover their super

ISA's report provided a number of recommendations to fix the 'unpaid super scourge' in Queensland, as it creates an 'uneven playing field'.

The report's key recommendation was to mandate that employers pay super at the same time as wages into their workers' accounts.

Other recommendations include:

  • Lift enforcement activity and force the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to issue and publicise penalties for not paying super – "so dodgy employers can see there is a cop on the beat".
  • Empower employees and representatives to recover unpaid super debts.
  • Extend the Fair Entitlement Guarantee so workers can recoup their savings if a company goes bust.

"Most employers are doing the right thing, but they are being undercut by competitors who are getting away with daylight robbery," Mr Dean said.

"Paying super with wages is the only way to get workers their money and level the playing field for business."

More to come...


Image by Josh Appel on Unsplash

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Rachel is a Finance Journalist, and joined Savings in 2021. Coming from a background in the FinTech space, her interests include the innovation of lending technology, property, investing, and more. With a passion for educating and informing people about their finances, she hopes to increase the financial literacy of everyday Australians.

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