Running a business and employing people involves superannuation obligations.

All employees are covered by the superannuation guarantee legislation, whether they are full-time, part-time, or casual workers. This means that as an employer, you'll have to take certain steps during the employment process in order to meet your obligations.

What you need to do when paying employee superannuation

Business owners and employers need to:

You can employ people under all business structures. If you're a sole trader, or in a partnership and have no employees, you're not obliged to pay super. However you can decide to make self-contributions to your super fund to help you plan for the future. Visit the Australian Taxation Office website to find out more.

Superannuation contributions and fund choices

All employers are required to offer their employees a choice of super fund on commencement. This involves:

  1. identifying new eligible employees
  2. providing a Standard choice form to eligible employees
  3. acting on your employee's choice of super fund.

Payment cut-off dates for super contributions each year are:

  • 28 January
  • 28 April
  • 28 July
  • 28 October.

If you don't make your superannuation contributions by these cut off dates, you'll face penalties. Visit the Australian Taxation Office website to find out what to do if you haven't made your contributions on time.

Start-up, micro, and small business owners

Are you a small business owner with 19 or fewer employees, or with an annual turnover of less than $10 million? The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House is a free online service that helps small businesses meet their superannuation guarantee obligations.

The service makes it easier for employers to pay all their super contributions online in one transaction, which are then counted as being paid on that date. It also gives employers 21 days leeway to pass on employee choice of fund details.

Register as a small business with the Clearing House to take advantage of this service.

Superannuation Data & Payment Standard (SuperStream)

If you have employees, you need to use the SuperStream data and payment standard to make super contributions.

The standard offers a simpler way of making super contributions and, for many employers, will provide a single channel for making contributions to multiple super funds.

All businesses with employees should now be using SuperStream.

Under the SuperStream standard, you need to:

  • send all super data electronically (such as the employee's details and the amount of super being paid)
  • make contribution payments electronically
  • link data and money with a unique payment reference number
  • send data and payments on the same day.

Some options to help you meet the standard include:

  • upgrading your software so that it complies with the standard
  • engaging a service provider who can meet the standard on your behalf
  • getting advice from your super fund on how your business can meet the standard.

Find out more about SuperStream on the Australian Taxation Office website.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO) superannuation resources

Read the ATO's guide to superannuation for employers for more details on:

Use the Super obligation employer's checklist to check you are meeting all your super obligations as an employer.

The ATO also provides useful tools for employers, including:

Read Contractors to find out more about employing contractors.

Use our Advisory Services to locate an adviser in your state or territory.

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