'Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organised society'. Franklin D Roosevelt
The super guarantee
Currently Australian employers must by law contribute 9.5% of an eligible employee's ordinary time earnings into a super fund. Ordinary time earnings are what you generally earn for ordinary hours of work, including over-award payments, bonuses, allowances and some paid leave. Overtime is not included. For example, if your ordinary time earnings are $15,000 per quarter (three-monthly), your employer must pay $1,425 into your super fund. This amount must come directly from your employer, not from your gross salary.
Your employer must make super guarantee payments on your behalf unless:
- you are under 18 years old and do 30 hours or less of work per week for the employer
- you are paid less than $450 (before tax) in a calendar month from the employer
- the work is of a domestic or private nature, for example as a part-time babysitter or nanny, and is 30 hours or less per week.
Even if you are employed on a casual or part-time basis, you may still be eligible for super guarantee contributions by your employer.
Super is not compulsory for self-employed people, although many do make contributions.
Note: The ATO imposes significant penalties, to encourage employers to meet their obligations.