Q&A: Should FIFO workers get better superannuation contributions?

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Q: I have a superannuation question ... my problem is that I don't understand why our partners/family/friends are working so hard now and their employer contributions to super do not reflect this? My husband works about 11-12 hours per day (as per shift requirements) for 28 days, then has a break. Yet on his time sheets, it states that he has a standard 36-hour week, so super is only paid on this. Don't these men and women (well any shift worker required to work above a standard week's working hours) deserve to have their employer's super contributions reflect the long, hard hours worked away and sometimes in the middle of nowhere in the most intolerable conditions and weather? And without salary sacrifice, in some instances they are no better off than someone that works a 9-5 job when it comes time to retire?

Mine Wealth + Wellbeing: There are many miners and shift workers around the country who would probably agree with your view on this issue. However, the Australian Tax Office has stipulated that Ordinary Time Earnings (OTE) MUST be used to calculate the minimum Super Guarantee (SG). As at 1 July 2015, this is 9.5 per cent of an employee’s OTE. The ATO describes OTE as generally what employees earn for their ordinary hours of work. This can include:

  • Over-Award Payments
  • Certain bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Shift-Loading, and
  • Certain allowances

Currently, if you are aged 50 and over, you can make before-tax (concessional) contributions of up to $35,000 per financial year. If you are under the age of 50 you can make before-tax contributions of up to $30,000 per annum. It’s important to remember, concessional contributions include your Superannuation Guarantee and Salary Sacrifice contributions.

If you are a Mine Wealth + Wellbeing member and would like more information, please call 13 MINE (13 64 63), Mon-Fri from 8am to 6pm.

If you have a superannuation question, please ask away!

This is general information only and does not take into account your financial situations, needs or objectives. Before acting, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you and read our Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). If there’s any inconsistency between this document and the PDS or Trust Deed the terms of the PDS or Trust Deed prevail. This information is based on our understanding of current Australian laws and assumes they will remain unchanged.

Issued by AUSCOAL Superannuation Pty Ltd ABN 70 003 566 989 AFSL 246 864 Trustee for Mine Wealth and Wellbeing Superannuation Fund ABN 16 457 520 308. Mine Wealth + Wellbeing Financial Advice is a trading name Mine Wealth and Wellbeing Services Pty Ltd ABN 49 051 315 014 a Corporate Authorised Representative of Adviser Network Pty Ltd ABN 25 056 310 699 AFSL 232729.