Employers will be required to make superannuation guarantee (SG) contributions on payday, rather than quarterly, under new reforms put forward by the federal government to address unpaid super.
The measure, announced by Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones, will take effect from July 2026 and “strengthen Australia’s superannuation system and help deliver a more dignified retirement to more Australian workers”.
“While most employers do the right thing, the Australian Taxation Office estimates $3.4 billion worth of superannuation went unpaid in 2019/20,” Chalmers said.
“Payday superannuation will make it easier for employees to keep track of their payments and harder for them to be exploited by disreputable employers.
“The change will particularly benefit those in lower-paid, casual and insecure work who are more likely to miss out when super is paid less frequently. Women are overrepresented in this group.”
Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia deputy chief executive Glen McCrea said the measure will put thousands of dollars back into the retirement funds of millions of Australians and improve compliance within the sector.
“Requiring employers to pay SG at the same time as wages will make it easier for employees to monitor the SG compliance of their employer and for the ATO to compare superannuation payments with wage payments,” McCrae noted.
“It will limit build-up of SG liabilities and hold employers to account.
“Left unaddressed, the issue of unpaid SG contributions comes at a significant cost to people’s retirement. For example, a 35-year-old on $65,000 per year who misses out on SG for two years would be around $24,000 worse off in today’s dollars at the time of retirement.”
Financial Services Council chief executive Blake Briggs also welcomed the reform and agreed the commencement date of 1 July 2026 will provide ample time for employers and other relevant parties to adapt to the change.
“This is a sensible change flagged by the government that will improve transparency and consumer engagement in the superannuation system,” Briggs said.
“Aligning the timing of when employers are required to pay superannuation with wages will make it easier for people to keep on top of their superannuation.
“The government has also shown regard to the needs of small businesses by providing a considerable implementation timeframe.”
As part of the reform, the ATO will receive additional resourcing to help it detect unpaid super payments earlier and the government will set enhanced targets for the regulator for the recovery of payments.