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  • How much super to pay

    The minimum superannuation you must pay for each eligible employee is 9.5% of their ordinary time earnings (OTE).

    This is called the super guarantee (SG) and is paid at least quarterly.

    If you don't pay the required SG amount by the quarterly due date, you must pay the super guarantee charge.

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    Work out how much to pay

    Before you calculate how much super to pay, you should work out if you have to pay super.

    To work out how much super to pay, you can use our calculator.

    Super guarantee contributions calculator

    The SG rate of 9.5% is the minimum required by law. You may pay super at a higher rate under an award or agreement.

    To manually work out how much super to pay, multiply your employee's OTE for the quarter by the SG rate. If you're paying super at a higher rate, use that rate.

    For employees who started during the quarter, work out their super based on their earnings from the day they started.

    Example: working out the minimum super contribution

    Jan employs Danni. During the July–September quarter of the 2020–21 financial year, Danni's ordinary time earnings are $15,000.

    Jan works out the minimum super contribution for Danni for the quarter:

    $15,000 × 9.5% = $1425

    Jan contributes $1425 to Danni's super fund by the quarterly due date, which is 28 October 2020. If Jan fails to do this, she may have to pay the super guarantee charge.

    End of example

    Ordinary time earnings

    Ordinary time earnings (OTE) is the amount your employees earn for their ordinary hours of work. It includes:

    • over-award payments
    • commissions
    • shift loading
    • annual leave loading
    • allowances
    • bonuses.

    Check a specific type of payment with List of payments that are ordinary time earnings.

    Ordinary hours

    Your employee's ordinary hours are the normal hours they work, unless their hours are specified in an award or agreement.

    If you can't determine the normal hours of work (such as for casual workers), the actual hours the employee works are their ordinary hours of work.

    The Fair Work Act's definition of ordinary hours for workers not under an award or agreement caps them at 38 hours. This definition does not override the super laws above.

    If you pay a contractor mainly for their labour, you calculate SG on the labour component of the contract.


    Overtime payments are not OTE, provided the employee's ordinary hours of work are clearly identified.

    If you can't distinctly identify overtime amounts, all the hours actually worked are included in the employee's ordinary hours of work.

    The above rules also apply if the payments are calculated as an annualised or lump sum component of a total salary package. Overtime payments must be clearly identifiable, otherwise all hours worked are OTE.

    Maximum super contribution

    You don't have to pay SG for your employee's earnings above a certain limit, called the maximum contribution base.

    This base amount is indexed annually and is usually available before the start of the financial year.

    It does not apply to other mandated contributions, such as contributions you pay under an award.

    Example: maximum contribution base for SG

    Rory is the Marketing Manager of ABC Pty Ltd.

    During the July–September quarter of the 2020–21 financial year, Rory's OTE is $60,000.

    The quarterly maximum contribution base for 2020–21 is $57,090.

    ABC Pty Ltd uses the maximum contribution base to work out the SG contribution for Rory for the quarter:

    $57,090 × 9.5% = $5423.55

    Rory's OTE above $57,090 is ignored.

    End of example

    Back pay

    You must pay super on back pay of amounts that are OTE, even if the employee no longer works for you.

    If you don't, you'll be liable for the super guarantee charge.

    Example: back pay for an employee that has finished employment

    On 30 June 2020, Sue finished her employment with company ZYX. In September 2020, ZYX realised it had been underpaying its employees. The company needed to give Sue back pay of an extra 2% for the period from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2020.

    ZYX must pay an SG contribution for the back pay by the quarterly due date of 28 October 2020 – that is, 28 days after the quarter in which Sue was actually paid.

    The company calculates Sue's SG contribution at 9.5% of her back pay. The payment would usually be made to the fund the company paid Sue's last super contribution into.

    If the company doesn't pay the minimum super on time to a complying fund or retirement savings account, they will have to pay the superannuation guarantee charge to us.

    End of example
    Last modified: 26 May 2021QC 33745