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Essential 2024 Updates on Superannuation Entitlements for Employers

The Fair Work Commission, Australia's national workplace relations tribunal, has updated the superannuation guidelines across 147 awards, effective from April 9, 2024. These revisions ensure the awards are consistent with the latest superannuation regulations, including the entitlement to superannuation contributions outlined in the National Employment Standards (NES), which took effect on January 1, 2024.

Superannuation Rights under the NES

The NES now includes a provision for superannuation contributions, granting most employees covered by the NES the ability to pursue legal action under the Fair Work Act for any discrepancies in superannuation payments. Although employers are already required to make superannuation contributions for eligible employees under superannuation guarantee laws, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) continues to oversee compliance with these obligations.

Updated Superannuation Rules in Awards

The updates primarily integrate existing superannuation legislation rules, focusing on the rights and obligations of both employers and employees. Key updates include:

  1. Employees generally have the option to select their own superannuation fund.

  2. If a new employee does not select a fund, the employer must consult the ATO to check if the employee belongs to a stapled superannuation fund. If so, contributions should be made to this stapled fund.

  3. If an employee does not choose a fund and does not belong to a stapled fund, the employer fulfills the fund choice requirement by contributing to a superannuation fund listed in the award, assuming the fund accepts contributions for the employee.

Recommended Actions

It is advisable to have a default super fund, specifically one recognised in the applicable award. Employers should also implement a robust payroll system that supports electronic onboarding, enabling new employees to select either their chosen super fund or the employer's default fund. This system should automatically calculate and facilitate super payments through a clearing house.

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