Bill to increase Super Guarantee underpayment penalties passes House

A Bill to increase the penalties for employers not complying with their Super Guarantee obligations could become law by the end of the week.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 4) Bill 2018, which increases penalties for SG non-compliance to include potential jail sentences, among other changes, has passed the House of Representatives.

The Bill also extends Single Touch Payroll – which involves reporting information to the ATO at the same time as payroll – to small employers (under 20 employees).

Nationals MP Andrew Broad said in Parliament that the Government was trying to make it easier and simpler for small employers to comply with their obligations with this legislation. But LNP MP Andrew Wallace said the Bill extends Single Touch Payroll to the sector where 70% of SG non-compliance occurs. Some have called for the Single Touch Payroll start dates to be pushed back, as it is claimed small business isn’t ready and the changes will likely require buying new software.

A Senate committee report indicates that the Bill has the support of both the Liberal and Labor parties. The Bill could pass the Parliament before the end of the week, with it up for debate potentially on Wednesday according to the draft Senate legislative programme.

Both the Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 4) Bill 2018 and the Government’s Super Guarantee amnesty Bill were introduced to the Senate on Tuesday night, with the potential for a vote before the end of the week. After this week the Parliament is on its winter break, and is next scheduled to sit on 13 August 2018.

However it appears that the Bill cracking down on Super Guarantee underpayment is more of a priority, as it is listed in the draft legislative programme for the Senate for debate on Wednesday. The SG amnesty Bill – which Labor plans to attempt to amend – is not listed in the draft programme.

The same draft programme also lists the Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No.2) Bill 2017 as up for debate on Tuesday. The Bill expands super choice for employees and means salary sacrifice contributions don’t count as employer Super Guarantee contributions. Labor has proposed an amendment to the Bill, which was last debated in November 2017.

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