(Australian Associated Press)
Businesses that have failed to pay their staff their full superannuation guarantee entitlement could have a once-off chance to make amends or face the full wrath of the Australian Taxation Office.
The House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday that will allow an employer to voluntarily come forward to disclose super payments it has not payed its staff without being subject to penalties.
Employers will have until six months after the bill receives royal assent to comply.
“After the amnesty concludes the ATO will take a dim view of those employers that could have come forward but failed to do so,” Industry Minister Karen Andrews told parliament on Thursday.
“Those employers will be subjected to penalties equal to at least 100 per cent of their non-compliance.”
The legislation now goes to the Senate for approval.
Ms Andrews said the government had improved the integrity of the superannuation guarantee system with the introduction of real-time reporting that allows the ATO to detect non-compliance by employers.
The ATO has also been given greater enforcement powers to collect superannuation guarantee liabilities from “unscrupulous employers”.
However these measures did not address historical non-compliance to address this problem, which is why employers are now being given the opportunity to come forward and “wipe the slate clean”.
Industry superannuation funds and unions have railed against the laws.
The measure is expected to recover $160 million in unpaid retirement savings, with 7000 employers already coming forward and the same amount expected to own up once the bill passes.