Every superannuation dollar counts as Australians approach retirement.
Every superannuation dollar counts as Australians approach retirement. JOEL CARRETT

Don't let the boss pinch your $1500

IF YOU'RE enjoying some downtime over January, it's worth taking a few minutes to check your super savings.

Most employers do the right thing and make regular super contributions for their employees.

However, a recent industry report found almost one in three Australian workers could be out of pocket because their employers had skipped all or part of their compulsory super obligations.

In fact, it's estimated rogue employers are collectively dodging compulsory superannuation payments worth $3.6 billion a year.

The average amount of unpaid super is believed to be $1489 for each worker affected. That may not sound like much, but super is an ultra long-term investment that really benefits from compounding returns. Missing out on just a few contributions today can have a significant impact on the value of your final nest egg.

Here's the rub. Unless you keep track of your super savings it's easy to be unaware the boss is ducking out of paying compulsory contributions. This explains why checking your fund balance several times a year is a good investment of your time.

Start by taking a look at your payslips. These will show the amount of super the boss is required to pay.

Next, check your super fund statements to see exactly what's been deposited into your account.

Be aware, super contributions have to be paid only quarterly even if your wages are paid weekly or fortnightly. So there can be a delay of several months between contributions being recorded on your payslip and actually showing up in your fund.

If it looks like there's a shortfall in the boss's contributions, speak to your payroll officer. If you get no joy there, notify your fund - they can put you in touch with the Tax Office to lodge an unpaid super inquiry.

If you are a union member, talk to a union representative to see whether the union can take action to recover unpaid entitlements.

The key message is to take an ongoing interest in your super.

You certainly wouldn't wear it if your employer short-changed your wages by $1500 each year, and you shouldn't have to put up with being ripped off on super contributions.

You may not be able to access your super savings while you're in the workforce, but it's still your money.

Paul Clitheroe is a founding director of financial planning firm ipac, Chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money Magazine.

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