Superannuation: Your right to a dignified retirement

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Senior couple enjoying their retirement

Couple enjoying their retirementCouple enjoying their retirementThe right to a dignified retirement

Couple enjoying their retirementCouple enjoying their retirementAll workers have the right to a dignified retirement, and that means having enough retirement income to rely on. The United Workers Union was instrumental in making sure all workers have access to money when they retire, through superannuation contributions. We achieved this, together with other unions, through the introduction of compulsory superannuation, which began in 1992.

Superannuation contributions are not taken out of your wages – they are paid on top of your salary. 

By law, your employer must pay a minimum 11.5% contribution (of your ordinary time earnings) into your nominated or default super fund. This contribution will increase to 12% by July 2025. 

What is superannuation?

Superannuation is deferred wages. Your money is entrusted to your super fund to invest it wisely so that you have retirement funds when you retire from the workforce.

Our work fighting for award wage increases, combating wage theft and ensuring members get every cent you’re entitled to, includes making sure our members get all their super contributions. Every year, the UWU recovers hundreds of thousands of dollars in underpayments to members. Upon site closures and redundancies, we also ensure our members receive their full entitlements, including their superannuation benefits.

We’re fighting to make superannuation better and fairer

In 2022, we helped get rid of a law which allowed employers not to pay super for workers earning less than $450 per month. We also supported changes to laws which propose that from 2026 employers will need to pay super at the same time as they pay wages. This makes is harder for employers to underpay workers their super entitlements.

In 2023, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) was amended to include a right in the National Employment Standards (NES) to superannuation, alongside other fundamental entitlements. Including superannuation in the NES means that workers covered by the Act can take action against employers who do not make super contributions. The United Workers Union played a key role in these amendments.

We continue to fight for super to be paid on parental leave, for loopholes which deny young workers superannuation to be closed, and for a more equitable super system, in particular, for First Nations and women.

About industry superannuation funds

United Workers Union is a strong supporter of industry superannuation funds. Industry funds are not-for-profit funds run only to benefit members. They have low fees, deliver strong, long-term returns and consistently outperform other funds (such as retail funds run by the big banks).

Today, more than 5 million Australian workers, including many United Workers Union members, are members of industry funds. These funds manage hundreds of billions of dollars of workers’ money. All profits go to the funds of members instead of shareholders. Importantly, members have a say in how the funds are run, through employee representatives on the boards.

UWU officials currently serve as directors and represent union members on the boards of Australian Super, Hesta and Hostplus.

Together industry funds invest in long-term assets like roads, airports, renewable energy and other infrastructure. This helps to deliver higher, long-term returns for members, and also benefits everyone by creating jobs and strengthening the economy. Industry funds also lead the way with responsible investment by factoring in important environmental, social and governance issues, including labour rights.

Industry funds that cater especially to United Workers Union members:

Australian Super Logo

Australian Super fund for those who work in the cleaning, security, manufacturing, logistics, food and beverage, farms, call centre, market research and allied industries. For more information, visit the Australian Super website.

Hesta Logo

Hesta is the fund for employees in the health and community services sector. For more information, visit the Hesta website. 

Hostplus Logo

Hostplus is the fund for workers employed in hospitality, tourism, recreation and sport. For more information, visit the Hostplus website.

More about superannuation, visit:

Industry Super Australia 

Australian Council of Superannuation Investors

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