Those who earn less than $450 a month are denied superannuation by law as they fall below the current wage threshold for the superannuation guarantee. The superannuation wage threshold is affecting an estimated 145,000 men and 220,000 women in Australia with a loss of around $125 million in superannuation contributions each year. This includes:
- 50,000 male and 85,000 female retail workers;
- 32,000 male labourers;
- 26,000 men working in aged care and other community roles;
- 57,000 women working in aged care and child care; and
- 8,000 males and 28,000 females in clerical roles.
Young workers and those working multiple casual jobs are at risk even if their combined income is above $450 a month, as the threshold applies to each employer individually and overtime is not counted.
There is widespread support for abolishing the threshold, including from women's groups, Indigenous groups, super industry groups, unions and both sides of politics.
ASFA's examples of workers not receiving the superannuation guarantee were:
A 19-year-old student, who works part time in the hospitality industry for four years and earns $4,500 a year loses $1,710 in super contributions.
A 30-year-old working two casual labouring jobs and earning $5,000 a year from both, loses $2,850 in super over three years.
A 25-year-old who works a second job as a hairdresser and earns $5,000 a year loses $2,375 in payments over five years.