Small business owners say they are being caught in the crossfire as the big super funds struggle to make the transition to SuperStream.
SuperStream requires employers to make super contributions on behalf of their employees by submitting data and payments electronically and business owners who employ 20 or more employees must be on board with it by October 31.
John Gilmour, owner of shoe retailer Gilmour’s in Glen Huntly, Victoria, says “clerical stuff-ups” are rife in the big super funds which are experiencing “difficulties in meeting the SuperStream demands of the government despite more than three years notice”.
Gilmour says he has been making superannuation payments on behalf of employees to super fund REST since 1995.
In order to meet the SuperStream requirements that all contributions be made online after July 2015, Gilmour arranged payment to his employees’ funds through the clearing house QuickSuper in August.
In September Gilmour made the August contributions and has documentation recording the receipt of funds and allocation by the clearing house.
Gilmour says the payments were made well ahead of deadlines to ensure the online arrangements worked.
“This must have been too much for REST,” he says.
“Yesterday, they sent me an email saying they had not received our July contributions and threatened to take further action against us to get the money.”
Gilmour says he is sick of the “heavy-handed, threatening approach” of the big super funds and their “head prefect manners” particularly when most of the mistakes appear to be stemming from the funds themselves.
“REST has a history of clerical incompetence, losing cheques, losing
contributions’ reports and so on,” Gilmour says.
“But the latest debacle suggests that the change to online payments has tested them to the max.”
Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, says he’s not surprised to hear of the issues and warns “this is not an isolated case”.
“You can bring in all these different ways of making it easier but the industry super funds are just incompetent and inefficient and this is just the proof,” he says.
“The impact is on the employer, which of course is wrong, but the impact is also on the members.”
Pauline Hayes, spokesperson for REST, told SmartCompany Gilmour Shoes has a longstanding relationship with REST and has an agreement to pay superannuation contributions monthly.
“In this instance the contributions were received via an external clearing house but it was not possible to match the data to the contribution with the existing information REST held,” Hayes says.
“This resulted in REST notifying Gilmour Shoes that the contributions had not been received according to their monthly contribution payment schedule.”
Hayes says the government’s SuperStream requirements are designed to provide a standardised approach across the industry.
“With the move to SuperStream and the use of a clearing house it is important for employers to ensure that each provider has the required information to enable the data and payment to be matched by the system,” she says.
SmartCompany contacted the Australian Tax Office but did not receive a response prior to publication.