Funds must allocate contributions to a member’s account within three business days of receiving the contribution payment (cleared funds) and the mandatory contribution information, whichever is the later.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has indicated that it doesn't expect trustee reporting of breaches of this requirement until after 1 July 2015.

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Minimum data requirements

For a contribution an employer must give the following information to the fund – unless the employer has made reasonable efforts to get the information from the employee and has been unable to do so:

  • employee’s full name
  • employee’s residential address
  • employee’s TFN
  • employee’s phone number
  • payment reference number.

Incomplete data not affecting allocation

If you receive a contribution with sufficient information to allocate it to a member account, you must do so within three days. This is the case even if the contribution is missing some mandatory information, such as the employee's phone number.

Your fund should attempt to obtain any mandatory member information that is missing from the contribution message, and has flexibility in how it goes about this. For example, you might use an existing process or contact the relevant employer as part of the initial contact.

Although technically a breach, the non-collection of phone contact details for members doesn't impact the core intent of having contributions allocated to member accounts. There is no expectation that funds would regard a breach of this type as significant (and therefore reportable to APRA).

Incomplete data affecting allocation

If an employer provides incomplete data you must, within five business days of receiving the contribution details, ask the employer to provide the correct and complete information.

After you send a follow-up request the employer has 10 business days to make all reasonable efforts to provide the requested information.

If you're still unable to allocate the contribution to a member after the follow-up request period has expired, you must refund the contribution to the employer. You must complete the refund within 20 business days of having received the contribution from the employer.

When a refund occurs, the contribution is taken not to have been made to the fund by the employer.

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Employers not entitled to an ABN

Employers that aren't entitled to an ABN can use their withholding payer number (WPN) as their employer identifier to meet their SuperStream obligations.

They enter their WPN in the data field that would otherwise be used to record an ABN. To provide the WPN in the correct format for SuperStream, they add zeros to make it an eleven-digit number. So an employer with:

  • an eight-digit WPN adds three zeros before their WPN    
    • for example, 00012345678
  • a nine-digit WPN adds two zeros before their WPN    
    • for example, 00123456789.

Funds must accept contributions from employers using their WPN as described above.

Employers who are eligible for an ABN should use their ABN.

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Obtaining data not required by the standard

You can ask employers to provide more data than that specified in the standard, but only if you have an agreement with the employer to this effect or the information is required by other legislation.

You'll find that many of the data fields you're likely to need are already specified in the standard. They may be listed in the standard as optional, and therefore come into use if you have an agreement for them to be supplied. Section of the Data and payment standards – contributions message implementation guide describes how you can define data items that are truly unique to your fund’s requirements while remaining true to the standard format for SuperStream message construction.

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Accepting data in alternative formats

Your fund can accept contribution data in an alternative format and still comply with the standard if certain conditions are met. This may involve direct data entry or a file upload process to an application hosted by the fund, such as an employer portal.

You must ensure that the:

  • terms and definitions align with those set in Schedule 2 of the standard
  • payment methods conform with Schedule 3 of the standard
  • data elements and business rules align with Schedule 4(a) of the standard.

You and the employer must agree in writing to the alternative arrangements.

If you’re planning to offer alternative file formats or portals to your employers, you should consider how you will tell employers about these arrangements, how they will provide consent and how these arrangements might change in the future. You need to be clear that an employer can choose to send contributions using the SuperStream messaging standard and can't be compelled to use an alternative channel.

Transition-in arrangements

During the transition-in period up to 30 June 2016, you can expect some employers will continue to send contribution data and payments in existing formats (including paper and cheques). You can't compel small employers to use SuperStream before 30 June 2016, and we're providing compliance flexibility until 28 October 2016 for small businesses that are not yet SuperStream ready. So you'll need to maintain existing processes for small employers until then.

Consent to alternative arrangements must be obtained in writing from each employer, but ‘in writing’ can include any reliable form of electronic communication. For example, you could use an employer’s electronic acceptance to online terms and conditions as part of the use of an electronic contribution platform to satisfy the requirement that it needs to be in writing.

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Payment methods

Funds must be able to accept electronic payments from employers.

You must offer and accept both:

  • BECS (direct entry)
  • BPAY® (but BPAY is only required if an employer requests use of the BPAY method).

® Registered to BPAY Pty Ltd ABN 69 079 137 518

You may also use a mutually agreed alternative electronic payment method.

Employers must provide a payment reference number with each payment to a fund – at USI (unique superannuation identifier) level – to enable automated reconciliation of payment and data.

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Last modified: 26 Jul 2016QC 47559