BENDIGO workers are being shortchanged $31.5 million per year in super contributions from their employers, new figures have shown.
Industry Super Australia (ISA) has analysed tax file data and calculated that Bendigo's workforce lost an average of $1727 in super during the 2018-19 financial year.
ISA chief executive officer Bernie Dean said payslips were often misleading because they indicated that super was being paid alongside wages.
"Analysis shows that 31 per cent of local workers have been ripped off on their retirement contributions - with workers in hospitality, tourism and blue-collar jobs most likely to be impacted,'' he said.
"Despite the widespread local problem community awareness of unpaid super remains chronically low, especially among young workers."
Mr Dean said that unless new rules were introduced to stamp out shoddy practices, Bendigo workers could expect to continue to lose $31.5 million per year, as the rate remained steady.
"Seventy per cent of workers don't realise super can legally be paid just four times a year, not with their wages - despite what it says on payslips,'' he said.
"Mandating that super is paid with wages will make it much easier for workers to track when payments are made and uncover underpayments quicker, making recovery more likely."
The ISA has calculated that Australians missed out of a total $5 billion in 2018-19 and that rate appeared consistent in subsequent years. The Australian Taxation Office is responsible for issuing penalties to employers that flaunt the super rules by not paying contributions for staff.
In a nod to the issue, ATO acting deputy commissioner Dana Fleming told a meeting of super funds in May that a superannuation guarantee amnesty ending September 2020 had yielded $1 billion.
Assistant Minister for superannuation Jane Hume said the amnesty had been a one-off opportunity for employers to disclose unpaid superannuation, dating back to July 1, 1992.
Businesses needed make disclosures to the ATO and either pay the unpaid amounts of super in full with interest or put a payment plan in place.
The amnesty netted payments for about 690,000 superannuants and employees.
"Super is a form of deferred wages and every bit as important to be paid, and paid in full,'' she said.
But Mr Dean said the current arrangements weren't good enough and disadvantaged fair employers.
"Local federal politicians get their super paid on payday," he said.
"They need to act to help local workers get what they have earned and level the playing field for business."
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