What is super?

Superannuation (also called ‘super’) is money for your retirement. You build up super while you are working to make sure you can have a comfortable retirement. Australia has a compulsory system of superannuation, which means the money for your retirement comes mostly from compulsory super contributions that your employer pays into your super fund. By law your employer has to pay 9.5 per cent of your salary into your super fund. This is called the Superannuation Guarantee. Usually, you can’t get this money until you retire.

For information about all the super basics in one handy booklet, download our super guide Sorting out your super.

The Superannuation Guarantee rate is gradually increasing to 12 per cent but the government announced in September 2014 that the SG will remain at 9.5 per cent until 1 July 2021, when it will increase to 10 per cent, and then in 0.5 per cent increments annually until 1 July 2025 when it will finally reach 12 per cent.

You can also make extra voluntary before or after tax contributions to help grow your super savings. The government also offers a co-contribution scheme to help build your balance. For more information, see our Making contributions section.

Am I eligible for super?

Most people working in Australia are entitled to be paid super by their employer. This means your employer has to pay a minimum of 9.5% of your salary into your super fund if:

  • you’re over 18 and you’re paid more than $450 (before tax) in a calendar month
  • you’re under 18 and are paid a minimum of $450 (before tax) in a calendar month and work 30 or more hours a week.

It doesn’t matter if you’re working full time, part time or casually – if you meet the above criteria, you should receive SG contributions from your employer.

For more information see How does super work?