Your employer obligations

Running a business can be hard work. There seems to be a never-ending list of things that you're responsible for. Let us help you understand your super obligations with some key information you need to know. Here you'll find details about what you’re required to pay your employees, as well as important information about cut-off dates, how often you need to contribute, Super Choice rules and penalties.

Super Guarantee (SG)

Super Guarantee (SG) is the compulsory super contribution you must pay to your employees. Currently the percentage for SG is 10% of your employee’s earnings for their ordinary hours of work (including commissions, shift loadings, allowances).

Do I have to SG for all employees?

You need to pay super to an employee if they are:

  • 18 years of age or above and you pay them $450 or more in salary or wages in a month - this includes full time, part-time and casual workers
  • Under 18 years of age but they meet the above conditions and work at least 30 hours per week
  • Contractors (depending on the terms of their engagement)
  • Temporary residents of Australia

If you’re self-employed, it’s your choice if you want to pay yourself super.

How often do I have to pay super?

You should:

  • Pay quarterly and by the cut-off dates set by the ATO (see the table below) to avoid any penalties
  • Contribute regularly to ensure your employees’ accounts will cover any insurance1 premiums payable - otherwise their insurance may lapse
  • Pay any withheld amounts from your employee’s earnings (eg. Salary Sacrifice) within 28 days of the end of the month in which those amounts were earned

The table below are the due dates set by the ATO:

Due date for payment
Due date to lodge SG statement with the ATO
28 October
29 November
28 January
28 February
28 April
28 May
28 July
28 August

Which super fund should I choose?

You can choose a super fund for your employees and offer your choice as their super fund. However most employees can make their own choice, this is known as Choice of Fund. An employer must provide an employee with a Choice form within 28 days of the employee starting employment.

Some exceptions do exist. A common one is if employees are covered by a certain type of industrial agreement. But you should speak to the ATO or get legal advice before relying on any of these exceptions. 

What are the penalties?

If you don’t pay super to your employees by the ATO due dates, you have to pay an SG charge by the ATO. The SG charge (SGC) is equal to:

  • The standard SG rate, plus
  • 10% interest on the outstanding amount of super, plus
  • An administration charge of $20 per employee

This SGC is not tax deductible. Some contributions paid after the due dates may be offset against the SGC payable. And if you don’t pay super to your employee’s chosen fund or offer eligible employees a choice, extra charges may apply. Contributions paid into the wrong fund are not counted by the ATO when they assess if you have met your obligations as an employer.

What is MySuper2?

The government announced MySuper as part of its Stronger Super package aimed at improving super for members. MySuper is a low cost and simple superannuation product.

If your employee does not nominate their own super fund, you must contribute their super into a MySuper account. 

Related products

FirstChoice Employer Super

FirstChoice Employer Super is a simple and cost-effective superannuation solution for small- to medium-business owners and their employees.

Learn more

Things you should know

Insurance is subject to certain exclusions. E.g. a benefit won't be paid for any illness, injury or condition that existed three years before your cover commenced or increased (pre-existing condition exclusion). However, after five continuous years of holding the cover and demonstrating capability of working for two continuous months, the pre-existing condition exclusion does not apply.

MySuper accounts offer restrictions on the type of fees that can be charged, simple features so you don’t pay for services you don’t need and a single diversified investment option or a lifecycle investment option.

Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (CFS) is the issuer of interests in Commonwealth Essential Super ABN 56 601 925 435 (Essential Super) and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 (Bank). This document may include general financial product advice but does not consider your individual objectives, financial circumstances or needs. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and the Reference Guide for Essential Super carefully and consider whether the information is appropriate for you before making any decision regarding this product. Click here to download the PDS and Reference Guide, or call us on 13 4074 for a copy. The Bank and its subsidiaries do not guarantee the performance of Essential Super and an investment in this product is subject to risk, loss of income and capital invested. An investment in Essential Super is via a superannuation trust and is therefore not an investment in, deposit with or other liability of the Bank or its subsidiaries. Where we mention ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘our’, we mean CFS