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  • Super guarantee employer obligations – online course

    The ATO's super guarantee employer obligations online course educates employers about their super guarantee obligations.

    In this section


    The super guarantee employer obligations online course is designed to educate employers about their super guarantee (SG) responsibilities for their eligible employees.

    After completing this course you'll understand the following about super guarantee:

    • the importance of paying
    • where it is payable
    • the steps to set it up
    • how to calculate it
    • when and how to lodge and pay
    • what to do when a payment is late or missing
    • your record-keeping requirements.

    You can take an assessment after completing the course. Once you've successfully completed the assessment (with a score of 80% or higher) you will get a certificate of completion. You can save and print your certificate.

    The assessment result for employers directed by the Commissioner of Taxation to undertake this course will be automatically forwarded to us. Keep the certificate of completion until you receive written confirmation that you've complied with the directive.

    Start the course now

    The super guarantee employer obligations course should take around 2 hours to complete. Complete the 8 modules in the order listed below. You don’t have to do the whole course in one sitting. You can make a start now and continue later.

    Module 1: Overview of superannuation

    What is superannuation?

    Superannuation (super) is money set aside, generally over a long period of time, to provide for retirement. Super savings may be supplemented by the government age pension. Depending on the amount of super and other assets a person holds, it may replace the age pension altogether.

    In broad terms:

    • super contributions are made to a regulated, complying super fund or retirement savings account (RSA) by          
      • employers
      • members or the member's spouse (or both) 
    • the contributions are invested on behalf of the member – this money is invested into a broad portfolio including, but is not limited to     
      • shares
      • property
      • government bonds
      • cash deposits 
    • benefits are paid to the member on either          
      • retirement
      • resignation
      • death
      • a condition of release specified by law. 

    As an employer, you need to know about super guarantee. This is making super contributions for your eligible employees. The Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992External Link defines the way super guarantee works and your obligations as an employer.

    Australian Government retirement income policy

    The Australian Government's retirement income policy recognises that Australia has an ageing population. We need to reduce reliance on the government age pension.

    The policy encourages individuals to have a higher standard of living than would be possible from the age pension alone. This is achieved by:

    • encouraging people who are able to save for their retirement to do so, particularly through super
    • providing an adequate public safety net, the age pension, for Australians who are unable to support themselves in their retirement years
    • ensuring the system is predictable, facilitates choice and is equitable
    • ensuring the system is sustainable and delivers an increase in national saving.

    These objectives are met through the three-tiered retirement income system.

    Retirement income system

    Australia's retirement income system has 3 tiers:

    Compulsory super

    The first tier in the system is compulsory super. This provides a minimum level of super for most employees. Employers make compulsory contributions to complying super funds or RSAs under the super guarantee scheme and the award system.

    Voluntary super

    The second tier, voluntary super, encourages individuals to provide for their retirement by making personal contributions to complying super funds or RSAs. There are incentives, such as tax concessions and tax offsets to encourage voluntary super.

    Age pension

    The age pension and associated social security arrangements are the foundations of the retirement income policy. They act as a 'safety net' to catch people who haven't been able to accumulate enough savings or super to provide for their own retirement.

    Super guarantee employer obligations

    As an employer, you play a critical role in paying compulsory super for your employees.

    The super guarantee is money you pay to a complying super fund for your workers to provide for their retirement. The minimum you must pay is called super guarantee (SG).

    Before 1 July 2022, if you paid an employee $450 or more (before tax) in salary or wages in a calendar month, you would generally also need to have paid super guarantee for them. Salary or wages includes any overtime.

    From 1 July 2022, you'll generally need to pay super guarantee contributions to an employee's super fund regardless of how much they are paid. Employees will still need to satisfy other eligibility requirements.

    The minimum super guarantee contribution is the employee's ordinary time earnings multiplied by the current super guarantee rate.

    If you're an employer with eligible employees, you must:

    • pay SG at least four times a year, by the quarterly due dates to avoid the SG charge
    • pay and report the SG electronically in a standard format, ensuring you meet SuperStream requirements.

    SuperStream is the data standard employers must use to report and pay their compulsory employee super contributions to super funds.

    Your super payments must be made to a complying super fund or RSA to reduce the SG charge. Most employees can choose their own fund.

    If you don't pay the super on time, you must complete and lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement and pay the super guarantee charge (SGC).

    Summary of Module 1


    • Australia's superannuation system is based on the retirement income system, which has 3 tiers          
      • compulsory super
      • voluntary super
      • the age pension 
    • employers must pay the SG charge if they do not provide the minimum super guarantee for their eligible workers
    • the minimum super guarantee contribution is an amount calculated by multiplying the employee's ordinary time earnings by the current super guarantee rate and must be paid at least 4 times per year.
      Last modified: 01 Jul 2022QC 58510