Dodgy bosses who steal their workers’ superannuation will face stiffer fines and legal action if Labor wins the next federal election.
Bill Shorten promised to make superannuation part of the National Employment Standards, Australia’s minimum workplace entitlements.
‘Bosses who rip off their staff, who don’t pay their super, who steal their super, should receive the same punishments and penalties as those who violate other workplace rights,’ Mr Shorten told the ALP national conference in Adelaide on Sunday.
The move will give employees the power to pursue unpaid superannuation entitlements through the Fair Work Commission or federal court.
Under existing arrangements, unpaid or underpaid contributions are owed to the Australian Taxation Office.
Unless there is a clause in their award or agreement, workers can’t chase this money as its not technically owed to them.
Under Labor’s plan, employers who underpay superannuation to their staff because of a false or misleading statement will face fines equal to 100 per cent of the unpaid super.
Bosses who fail to tell the ATO about unpaid superannuation when asked will face fines equal to 300 per cent of the unpaid super.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said too many workers found out their bosses had not been paying their super but they had no way to recover it.
‘Unfortunately, some employers think that when times get a bit tough, the first thing you can skimp on is your superannuation,’ Mr Bowen told reporters.
‘It’s the law of the land, its people’s rights, you’re all entitled to it.
‘While the tax office I think does a good job in many instances, it should be open to employees and former employees to be able to pursue this through the courts, not relying on the tax office only.’