Employer SuperStream FAQs

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What if I'm not ready?

Employers with 20 or more employees

Your SuperStream deadline was 31 October 2015. If you're not yet ready, you need to take all steps to implement as soon as possible. You need to have a firm plan in place to implement SuperStream.

Employers with more than 200 employees are asked to advise the ATO – through an employer notification – if they've been unable to comply with their SuperStream obligations by the deadline of 31 October 2015.

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Employers with 19 or fewer employees

The deadline to be on board with SuperStream was 30 June 2016. However, we will provide compliance flexibility to small businesses that are not yet SuperStream ready until 28 October 2016.

This means we will not be taking compliance action against small businesses that missed the 30 June deadline.

We understand that some businesses need some extra time to find a solution that suits their needs, so we will continue to educate and support them to get SuperStream ready.

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Are there any exemptions?

There are no general exemptions for SuperStream.

If you are an employer and you are struggling to find a SuperStream solution, you should contact your super fund to discuss your options. There are a variety of tailored payment options super funds use that meet SuperStream requirements. There may also be practical options available like engaging an agent (such as a bookkeeper or accountant). You may even be able to continue paying by cheque if your agent manages the electronic transfer of the SuperStream information and payment on your behalf.

You don't need to use SuperStream for:

  • contributions to your own self-managed super fund (SMSF) – ie if you're a related-party employer – for example, if you're an employee of your family business and your super guarantee contributions go to your SMSF
  • personal contributions – for example, if you're a sole trader and you contribute to a super fund for yourself.

For these types of contributions you can continue using your previous processes.

Do the contribution payment and message need to be sent on the same day?

Yes. You're required by law to send the payment and message on the same day. This enables the receiving super fund to reconcile your payment and message and allocate the contribution to the member account.

If you're using a clearing house, make sure you've allowed sufficient time for the clearing house to reconcile the payment and employee information before forwarding it to funds.

What is a USI?

A unique superannuation identifier (USI) identifies the specific super product for an employee contribution. It ensures contributions get to the right destination. All super funds must have at least one USI.

Most super funds have one USI for all of their products. It's publicly available information – the USI and other identifying information for the fund (like the ABN) are generally available on funds’ websites. Some funds have more than one USI, so it's important your employees tell you which product they're in.

Employers can use Super Fund LookupExternal Link to find USIs and other information about super funds.

What if I don’t have an ABN?

If you're eligible for an ABN you should register for one at abr.gov.auExternal Link.

If you are not entitled to an ABN, you can use your withholding payer number (WPN). Depending on your SuperStream solution, you may need to do the following:

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What if I don’t get the information I need from employees with an SMSF?

If an employee with an SMSF hasn't provided you with the information you need to make contributions using SuperStream, you may be able to redirect your employees’ contributions to your default fund, subject to some conditions.

You must tell the employee what information you need and give them a reasonable period to respond. If you don't receive it, ask the employee to complete a standard choice form and return it within 28 days. This form will gather the information you need to make SuperStream contributions to their SMSF.

If you still don't receive the information, you may send their contributions to your default fund.

You can still give an employee more time to respond.

How long does it take to process contributions?

Generally an employee's super contribution is counted as being paid on the date their super fund receives it, not the date a clearing house receives it from you.

If you use a clearing house to make contributions using SuperStream, check their terms and conditions of processing information and payments. Some clearing houses take 10 days to process, but others are quicker (for example, one day).

Once the contribution reaches a super fund, the fund has three days to allocate the money to the member’s account and process the information (or forward the money to the employee’s choice fund). The clock doesn't start until both the information and payment have been received.

If you use the ATO’s Small Business Super Clearing House (SBSCH) your super guarantee and SuperStream obligations are met on the date the SBSCH accepts them (so long as the super fund doesn't reject the payments). This is because the SBSCH is an ‘approved clearing house’ under government regulations.

Example Timeframes when using a clearing house

Midder Repairs uses a clearing house, Payroll Services Pty Ltd, to process super contribution payments and information for its employees. The clearing house has said it requires eight business days to process contributions.

For super guarantee contributions due on Wednesday 28 October, the employer must send the contribution payments and information to the clearing house on Monday 19 October (eight business days before the super guarantee due date) to allow sufficient time for the contributions to be processed and forwarded to the super funds by the super guarantee due date.

End of example

I already pay super contributions using EFT or BPAY – am I SuperStream compliant?

No. Even though you are already paying electronically, you may not be sending the fund the information about the contribution required under SuperStream. The contribution information linked with each payment for each employee tells the fund exactly how to allocate the contribution.

Do I have to use a clearing house?

No. A clearing house is just one of the options available to an employer to meet their SuperStream obligations.

Other options include your default fund, your payroll software, another service provider or speaking to your accountant, bookkeeper or adviser.

You may also choose to continue to contribute directly to each fund, as long as you send both the payment and member information electronically. You should check with your fund to make sure you're providing all the member information they need to process these contributions.

The SuperStream Certified Product RegisterExternal Link lists other providers you can consider when choosing your SuperStream solution.

How secure is SuperStream?

SuperStream uses sending and receiving protocols that all parties must follow, and all transmissions are encrypted.

Security of employee information starts with the employer and should be considered from an end-to-end perspective in your dealings in the super system. This means you should:

  • implement best practices when personal information is stored in payroll solutions or transmitted over the internet
  • make sure any service providers you use for super have well-developed policies, terms and conditions governing security of information.

We don't provide regulatory oversight of commercial clearing houses or other service providers. We do however operate the Small Business Super Clearing House (SBSCH) and apply security practices in its operations, including interactions with employers and funds.

We also provide stewardship and oversight of the SuperStream gateway network. All transactions processed in this network are encrypted according to the SuperStream standard, and best practice principles of security management are applied to gateway operators.

Trustees of APRA funds are bound by the provisions of use in protecting member information under the Superannuation (Industry) Supervision Act and Privacy Act requirements. These requirements also apply to any outsourcing arrangements entered into by trustees, including the use of services providers such as clearing houses and gateways.

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Last modified: 22 Jun 2016QC 47545