A superannuation payments amnesty for employers has turned up more than half a billion dollars in unpaid money for workers, prompting the federal government to praise “honest” companies.

Assistant Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume told the Daily Telegraph the amnesty will reunite Australians “with money that is rightfully theirs, making sure every dollars that is owed to workers goes back to them”.

She cited Australian Taxation Office data showing about 24,000 employers came forward to disclose they will give back a total of $588 million in unpaid or underpaid superannuation to workers.

This is expected to benefit some 393,000 employees.

“We know that in the past calculating the super guarantee has been very complicated,” Senator Hume told the Telegraph on Monday.

“The superannuation amnesty prompted honest businesses to take a look back through their records and check they’d done the right thing by their employees.”

The superannuation guarantee amnesty, which ended on September 7, was a one-off opportunity for employers to come forward and declare incorrect payments.