Superannuation is an entitlement that must be paid to all employees, and amendments to the Closing the Loopholes Bill that passed through the lower house this week, if passed by the Senate in the new year, will see changes to the Fair Work Act to criminalise the failure to pay super (or the underpayment of super) as wage theft.

The amendments to the Bill were made as a result of a deal with the Greens and include elevating superannuation under (or non) payment to the same level as wage theft in the treatment for criminal and legislative penalties.  Additional elements were included in the deal, such as removing the option to treat teachers as seasonal workers and restricting enterprise bargaining stalemates resulting in entitlement rollback.

Adam Bandt said the changes would lift wages, while also making it easier for workers to fight for their pay and conditions, “With these Greens amendments, we will support the Closing Loopholes Bill in the House, while Senator Barbara Pocock continues to lead the fight to secure a ‘right to disconnect’ in the Senate.”

In her own words Senator Pocock noted that super was not an ‘optional extra’ “The Government promised to criminalise wage theft but they left out the biggest category of wage theft being perpetrated on Australian workers through the intentional non-payment of their superannuation.  That’s around $3.4 billion a year that employers are stealing from working families.”

What now?

“The Closing the Loopholes Bill is not yet law.  It has passed the lower house and will be considered by the Senate in the new year, so we will not have the final shape of the changes and their impact on members until then, but it is important that all members understand that the landscape of employment compliance continues to change”, explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.

“The sheer amount of change and the almost continual nature of it has accelerated since the passing of the Secure Jobs Better Pay Act in December last year, which has had a profound impact on the employment landscape at various milestones this year, with the fixed contracts and zombie agreement changes coming into effect next week.  Change fatigue is a real thing, but is no excuse for non-compliance, so members are encouraged to keep on top of the changes that are live and to keep an ear out for the changes that are coming, and of course reach out to ACAPMA if you have any questions or concerns”, concluded Elisha.

Here to Help

ACAPMA Employment Department professionals are available to assist members with this and other employment matters via employment@acapma.com.au

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice, Members are reminded that they can seek further advice on their situation by emailing employment@acapma.com.au its free for members. ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $860 per year for a single site and valuable with sites gaining HR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts. Click here to learn more about ACAPMA membership.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)
ACAPMA

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