Superannuation Guarantee increases to 12%, eventually

Note: This article explains the Superannuation Guarantee rate. If you’re seeking information on other superannuation rates and thresholds see SuperGuide article Super rates and thresholds for the 2012/2013 year.

In the 2013 Federal Budget papers, the planned increase in Superannuation Guarantee contributions from 9% to 12% over the next 7 years is treated as a key initiative of the 2013/2014 Budget, even though the policy was announced and legislated many months earlier.

Effective from 1 July 2013, the Superannuation Guarantee percentage will increase to 9.25%, and will eventually rise to 12% by July 2019.

Superannuation Guarantee (SG) is the official term for compulsory superannuation contributions made by employers on behalf of their employees. An employer, regardless of whether they are a small or large business, must currently contribute the equivalent of 9% of an employee’s salary.

In May 2010, employed Australians received a pleasant surprise when the Federal Treasurer, Mr Wayne Swan, announced that compulsory employer super contributions were set to jump from the current 9% of salary to 12% by July 2019, an eventual 33% increase in Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions.

On 29 March 2012, the proposed increase in SG entitlements received Royal Assent and became law, which means SG contributions will definitely increase to 9.25% from July 2013, and gradually increase to 12% from July 2019.

The increase in SG contributions is a stepped process starting with a 0.25% in the 2013/2014 financial year, and then a 0.25% increase in the 2014/2015 year. For the following 5 years after the 2015 financial year, the SG rate will increase by 0.5% until it reaches 12% from July 2019 (see table below).

Superannuation Guarantee entitlements

Financial Year

Rate (%)

2011/2012

9

2012/2013

9

2013/2014

9.25

2014/2015

9.5

2015/2016

10

2016/2017

10.5

2017/2018

11

2018/2019

11.5

2019/2020

12

Source: Adapted from table appearing in Australian Government fact sheet ‘Superannuation – Increasing the Superannuation Guarantee rate to 12 per cent’ located on the ‘Stronger, Fairer, Simpler’ website (www.futuretax.gov.au)

The SG increase has significant financial implications for anyone expecting to remain in the workforce for more than 7 years, because the full 3% increase takes affect from the start of the 2019/2020 year – in just over 6 years’ time. According to the Federal Government, the 33% increase in the SG rate will give a 30-year-old on average full-time wages and extra $108,000 in retirement savings just by turning up for work.

There has been, and will continue to be, some resistance from employers, especially small business employers, to this policy. The federal government argues however that the 3-year lead time (from May 2010 through to July 2013) before the phased increases begin should have given employers plenty of time to prepare for the increase.

An interesting stumble in the selling of the SG increase, is that the company tax rate was eventually going to fall to 28% which the Government argued would soften some of the SG increase for employers. The promise was that from July 2013, the company tax rate would decrease to 29% (from 30%) and from July 2014, the company tax rate would decrease to 28%. During 2012, the Government announced that the company tax rates would not go ahead – ouch!

In any case, the federal government further argues that due to the lengthy lead time, employers will be able to take the SG increase into account when negotiating future wage agreements, and that the SG rate increase won’t stop real wages growing.

© Copyright Trish Power 2009-2014

Copyright for this article belongs to Trish Power, and cannot be reproduced without express and specific consent.


IMPORTANT: SuperGuide does not provide financial advice. Comments provided by readers that may include information relating to tax, superannuation or other rules cannot be relied upon as advice. SuperGuide does not verify the information provided within comments from readers. Readers need to seek independent advice about their personal circumstances.

Comments

  1. Crinkles says:

    Just got an email from the company today. Will be taking a 0.25% haircut as this now has to go to super – with associated decrease in take home pay. Company says those earning less than $75k don’t take the haircut but those earning more do.

    Company says as we are above award there is nothing we can do. Still on individual contract from 2007. APESMA says company is in the wrong and they stand ready to act legally on my behalf.

    0.25% is not much but what about the future 2.75%? We’ll be paying for it ourselves.

  2. Eric Smith says:

    You do all realise that the 0.25% increase will be deducted from your pay and given to your nominated superannuation fund right?

    Unless you are a government employee, on the minimum age or your employer is very generous, expect to receive a pay cut of 0.25% from your gross pay. This is not what the Government publishes or wants private companies to do, but is powerless to stop. I’m certain companies such as Fujitsu and CSC (among countless others) will be conducting themselves in this manner.

  3. My employer just sent out a comms saying this. In line with our current practice, will continue to meet our legal and contractual obligations by making superannuation contributions on your behalf from your Total Fixed Compensation (TFC). This will result in an increase in your superannuation contribution and a marginal decrease in your net take home pay.
    Is this legal???

  4. Hi Trish,

    My employer had advised that of the increase of their contribution to 9.25% on 1 July with a corresponding increase in my Total Renumeration Package.
    However they have advised that any further increases in the SG contribution will not result in an increase in my Total Renumeration Package, effectively meaning that the increases will be funded out of my salary.
    Is this how the increases in the SG supposed to work?

  5. awesome! My employer just sent email about this that he is going to increase from 9% to 9.5% from this july. So is it 9.25% instead of 9.5%?

    • Hi Damu
      The super laws only require 9.25% SG contributions from July 2013, but there is nothing stopping an employer contributing more than 9.25%. If you’re also planning to make your own super contributions, be aware that your employer’s contributions and any before-tax contributions you choose to make (that is, salary sacrifice arrangements) count towards the single concessional contributions cap. See SuperGuide website for more information.
      Regards
      Trish

  6. Albert Faure says:

    Great topics and commentary Trish ………………….keep it up.

    It’s a pity though that not all businesses will benefit from the lower coy tax rates, as a vast majority of small business enterprises are unencorporated, and are in the main sole traders or partnerships. This segement of business will still have to shoulder the impost of having to fund increases in SGC, without (as far as I can see) any offset benefit.
    Again great work…..always look forward to reading your Newsletters

  7. Dallas Achilles says:

    Hi Trish
    Thanks for all the valuable info that you provide.
    It is a great and much appreciated community service.

    In regards to the SG changes.
    There is a lot of hype about the figures 9% – 12%.
    But isnt it a fact that all these ‘concessional’ contributions are subject to a 15% contribution tax?
    This in real terms means that your 9% is actually 7.65%.
    Your 9.25% is actually 7.86%.
    Worse still the $50,000 cap on Concessional contributions is really $42500
    Your $25,000 cap is actually $21250.
    There is no mention of this in all the hype. Why?

    • Trent Thompson says:

      Dallas Achilles.

      Thant is a fantastic point that you raise on the topic. quite often people get side tracked and fixate on the trivial issues rather than the one that will actually have an impact on their lives.

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