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Superannuation in Australia

Are you planning to work in Australia? Here are the basics you need to know about super.

What is super?
One of the amazing things about Australia is the system for funding retirement. It is called superannuation or super. Many new arrivals know the term ‘pension fund’, so the first thing to know is a super fund is just the Australian name for a pension fund.

New arrivals are often surprised to find that an amount equal to 9.5% of their income goes into super! Here are a couple of things you should know.

You can claim the $ back
If you are only here for a few months you can get the super back when you leave. When you leave Australia be sure to apply for a refund of your super, the instructions are at

This doesn’t apply to people who migrate to Australia, if you have migrated you will receive super monies after you retire. That’s the point of superannuation really.

Unpaid super is a problem
Remember, if your employer doesn’t pay, you can’t claim it back!

Not paying is illegal but it happens. Unfortunately it happens more in industries like hospitality where backpackers often work.

Australian law says you receive super provided
You are 18 years old or over, and
Your pay is $450 or more per month before tax

If you think your employer is not paying super, the first step is to log onto your new super fund and check for contributions. Employers pay super either monthly or quarterly so any gap should be obvious.

If the super is unpaid then the steps to take are shown here

Keeping it simple
Super can be complex if you work in different jobs - you may end up with several super accounts and then you are paying multiple fees. In most work places you have the right to tell the employer where you want your super paid, so be sure to just keep one super account.

If you are moving to Australia permanently some other countries allow you to bring over your pension, for example UK and New Zealand have arrangements for this.

Superannuation resources
With so much money involved you may still have questions, try looking here

The most popular fund is Australian Super, your employer may need the codes shown here

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