12 month amnesty for employers not paying super still Government policy

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A plan to give employers who haven’t paid the superannuation entitlements of their workers a 12 month amnesty remains Government policy.

The 12 month Super Guarantee amnesty – first announced in May 2018 – remains Government policy, despite not including it in recent Bills and it not appearing in the list of policies the Coalition took to the election.

The amnesty was meant to apply for 12 months from the date of announcement, but it hadn’t passed the Parliament before the 12 months was up.

Speaking to ABC TV, Liberal MP Christian Porter – who is Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations, and Leader of the House – suggested the amnesty remained Government policy.

Four measures were included in the Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2018 – which didn’t pass, and so lapsed at the election – the 12 month amnesty, along with changes to Super Guarantee for high income earners with multiple employers, changes to the Non-arm’s length income rules, and the inclusion of LRBAs in Total Super Balance in some circumstances.

This week the Government introduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2019 to the House of Representatives. This new Bill includes the later three measures, but not the Super Guarantee amnesty.

The lack of the SG amnesty in the new Bill had led some to conclude that the policy had been dropped. On Wednesday the ACTU welcomed the apparent dropping of a policy which would “let super thieves walk free”.

But following comments by the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg – that the amnesty remains Government policy – the ACTU called on the Government to “consider reversing its position a final time” and drop the measure once and for all.

“After flirting with sensible policy the Treasurer has made a stunningly disappointing reversal and decided to back super thieves after all,” said ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly.

“The Government has chosen to side with the George Calombarises of the world, who feel free to help themselves to wages and retirement savings that belong to their workers, rather than backing working people.

“We are calling on the Treasurer to reverse his position once more, and to implement measures that would allow workers who’ve had super stolen to access quick, low-cost redress within the workplace jurisdiction, in addition to the current ATO enforcement mechanisms.”

More to come.

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