What is superannuation and how do I get it?

Illustrative representation of What is superannuation and how do I get it?

Superannuation, often just called super, is a way to save for your retirement. The money comes from contributions made into your super fund by your employer.

Super is paid in addition to your wage or salary. Your employer can’t deduct it from your wage or salary.

The Super Guarantee – it’s the law

  • If you are 18 years of age or older, and you earn $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month, your employer must make super contributions on your behalf. It doesn’t matter whether you’re full-time, part-time or casual.
  • If you are under 18 years of age and you earn $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month and you work more than 30 hours in a week, your employer must make super contributions on your behalf. It doesn’t matter whether you’re full-time, part-time or casual.

Currently these Super Guarantee contributions from your employer must be at least 9.5% of your ordinary time earnings. This rate will gradually increase to 12% in coming years. For all this to happen you need to have a super fund.

Getting a super fund

  • Most people can choose the super fund they want their employer contributions paid into. If you’re eligible to choose your own super fund, your employer must give you a Standard Choice form so you can make that choice in writing.
  • If you don’t choose a super fund, your employer will choose a fund for you.
  • If you already have a super fund you can usually ask for your super from your new employer to go into your existing super fund.
  • You should also provide your tax file number (TFN) to your employer and/or super fund. If you don’t, your super fund may take extra tax out of your super contributions.
  • You may be able to choose how your super is invested. Some fund investment strategies offer higher returns with higher risks, while others offer greater security for your money but with lower returns.

Remember, if you are entitled to super it's important to check the right amount is being paid into your super fund and when you change jobs it’s important to keep track of your super.

These tools can help you:

…Or you can browse Job Jumpstart for other ideas and suggestions of what to do next.