Learn more about what the superannuation guarantee is and how it works.
What is the super guarantee?
The super guarantee (also known as SG) are the contributions required to be made by your employer into a super fund. In most cases, these contributions kick in once you’re earning more than $450 (before tax) per month. The payments are part of the remuneration you receive from your employer and form the foundation of your super so you can be better prepared for retirement.
What is the SG rate?
Your employer is broadly required to contribute a minimum of 9.5% of your before-tax income into your super account. The super guarantee rate is determined by the Australian Federal Government and is currently set to continue at 9.5% until 1 July 2021, when it will increase to 10%.
Employers are required to pay 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings (OTE). OTE is generally what an employee earns for their ordinary hours of work including commissions, shift loading, annual leave and sick leave.
Payments that aren’t considered part of your OTE include overtime, unused annual leave or long service leave paid on termination of employment, as well as ancillary leave, such as jury leave.
Parental leave is not considered part of OTE; however, some companies choose to make SG payments on parental leave. Speak to your employer to understand your specific circumstances.
To calculate the amount of SG you should expect to receive from your employer, use the ATO’s estimate my super tool.
Employer obligations to make SG payments
If you’re eligible, your employer must make SG contributions into your super fund at least four times a year at dates determined by the ATO. They can also choose to make weekly, fortnightly or monthly contributions.
Your employer must pay and report super in a way that meets certain government requirements and it must be paid into a complying super fund.
If employers fail to pay SG on time, they may have to pay the super guarantee charge. If your employer hasn’t paid your super, paid it late, or into the wrong fund, you can report them to the ATO who will investigate the matter for you.
You can check your SG payments on your super statement or online at your super fund’s website. You can also find the information on your payslip.
If you’re an AMP client, you can log into My AMP or the app. Choose your super account and go to ‘Transaction history’ then ‘Contributions received’ to view contributions into your account.
Who is eligible for SG?
Employees are typically eligible for SG payments whether they are a full-time, part-time or casual employee and, in most cases, earning $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month. Some contractors are also eligible for SG payments, even if they’re working under their own ABN.
You’re still eligible for SG if you are a temporary resident, or a company director. Employees receiving a super pension or annuity while working – including those with a transition-to-retirement income stream, also continue to be eligible to receive SG on their employment income.
Employees under 18 years old or who are private or domestic workers, such as a nanny, must work more than 30 hours per week to qualify for SG payments.
You can check your eligibility using the ATO’s Superannuation guarantee eligibility decision tool.
Self-employed and the super guarantee
If you’re self-employed – either a sole trader or a partner in a partnership – you aren’t obligated to make any SG contributions to a super fund for yourself. This means it’s your choice to use super to save for your retirement.
Choosing a super fund
Most employees can choose their super fund - to find out if this applies to you check with your employer. If you’re eligible to choose your super fund, your employer will give you a standard choice form when you start working for them.
You’ll typically have a choice between your employer’s default fund or one you select. If you don’t choose a fund, your SG contributions will be paid into your employer’s default fund.
Providing your tax file number
It’s a good idea to provide your TFN to your super fund. Doing this means:
- your fund will pay less tax on employer contributions
- it’s easier to keep track of your super accounts - especially if you change jobs
- you’ll be able to make personal contributions to your fund
- you won’t miss out on government super payments (if you’re eligible for them).
You can find out more from the ATO.
Super contribution caps
There are limits to how much can be contributed into your super fund, both concessional, which are contributions made before tax - including the super guarantee, and non-concessional, which are after-tax contributions that aren’t claimed as a tax deduction. Find out everything you need to know about super contributions.
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