Choice of fund

In most cases your employees may choose their super fund. You must provide them with a Standard Choice form within 28 days from the day they started working with you. You need to complete section B of the form with details of your default super fund before giving it to your employees.

Where a new employee does not choose a super fund, you must contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to see if the employee has an existing super fund – their ‘stapled’ fund. If they do, you must make payments to this account.

If the new employee doesn’t have a 'stapled' fund and doesn’t choose a fund, then you may create a new account with your nominated default super fund

Which employees are eligible to choose a super fund?

Most employees are eligible to choose a super fund to receive super guarantee contributions. Your employee is entitled to choose their own fund if they are:

  • employed under a federal award
  • employed under a former state award, now known as a 'notional agreement preserving state award' (NAPSA)
  • employed under another award or industrial agreement that doesn't require super support
  • not employed under any state award or industrial agreement (including contractors employed wholly or principally for their labour).

Some state laws also provide for choice of super fund under state- based arrangements.

Which employees are not eligible to choose a super fund?

Your employee may not be eligible to choose their super fund if: you are required to pay super contributions:

  • their super is paid under a state award or registered agreement;
  • their super is paid under certain workplace agreements made before 1 January 2021 that require super support, including some Australian workplace agreements (AWA);
  • they are a federal or state public sector employee, excluded from super choice by law or regulations;
  • they are in a particular type of defined benefit fund or have already reached a certain level of benefit in that super fund.

What is a 'stapled' fund?

A ‘sta­pled’ fund is ef­fec­tively an em­ploy­ee’s su­per fund that fol­lows them from job to job un­less they ac­tively choose an­other fund.

For a fund to be ‘sta­pled’ it must be a com­ply­ing su­per fund or a Re­tire­ment Sav­ings Ac­count (RSA) which can ac­cept super con­tri­bu­tions made on be­half of an em­ployee, and the em­ployee must be a mem­ber of the su­per fund or hold the RSA.

Tie-breaker rules will de­ter­mine an em­ploy­ee’s 'sta­pled' fund where an em­ployee has two or more funds that meet these ba­sic re­quire­ments.

How do employers find the details of a new employees’ 'stapled' fund?

Em­ploy­ers will be able to iden­tify a new em­ploy­ee’s 'sta­pled' fund by log­ging onto ATO on­line ser­vices and en­ter­ing the em­ploy­ee’s details.

Where the ATO iden­ti­fies mul­ti­ple funds that may be 'sta­pled' to an em­ployee, four-step tiebreaker rules ap­ply inac­cord­ing to the fol­low­ing or­der.

  1. The most re­cent fund iden­ti­fied by the ATO will be the em­ploy­ee’s 'sta­pled' fund for the se­lected pe­riod (from the start of the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year un­til the day when the ATO ap­plies tiebreaker re­quire­ments).

  2. If 1. does­n’t ap­ply to the el­i­gi­ble funds it will be the fund that re­ceived the most re­cent con­tri­bu­tion over the se­lected pe­riod.

  3. If 1. and 2. do not ap­ply it will be the fund that held the largest bal­ance at the end of the pre­vi­ous finan­cial year.

  4. If none of the above ap­ply the ATO will con­sider fac­tors like when an em­ployee joined a fund and other rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion to iden­tify the 'sta­pled' fund.

Em­ploy­ees will also be able to see de­tails of their 'sta­pled' su­per fund in their my­Gov ac­count.

How can I find out if my employee is covered by an industrial agreement or award?

You can find out if your employee is covered by an award or agreement by checking with:

  • Fair Work Ombudsman (for federal and state awards and agreements)
  • The government agency responsible for workplace relations in your state or territory
  • Your employer association.

How can an employee choose a super fund?

An employee can choose a super fund by returning a completed Standard choice form to you or by providing you with a written notice that includes their employee identifier (if you have given them one) and the following information about their chosen super fund:

  • The fund name, ABN and USI*
  • The employee’s super account name and number
  • A compliance statement
  • Payment details for making contributions.

* A Unique Superannuation Identifier (USI) is used by superannuation fund administrators to identify superannuation funds for electronic rollovers.

Can I refuse to accept and employee's choice of fund request?

In most circumstances you are required to comply with your employee’s choice of fund request, however, you may refuse a request if:

  • the employee hasn’t provided all the required information:

-         the fund name, ABN and USI
-         the employee’s super account name and number
-         a compliance statement
-         payment details for making contributions

  • the employee has nominated another fund in the previous 12 months (you can however, choose to accept their request).

When do I need to make contributions to an employee's chosen fund?

If your employee provides a valid choice of fund request, you must start paying SG to the employee’s chosen fund within two months after receiving the request. Any contributions you make in the two months after receiving the form can be made to either your employer nominated super fund (your default fund) or the employee’s chosen fund.

You should retain the employee’s choice form for your records.

When do I pay super contributions for employees who don't choose a super fund?

If you've provided a Standard choice form to an employee and they haven't chosen a fund  you must contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to see if the employee has an existing super fund – their ‘stapled’ fund. If they do, you must make payments to this account.

If the new employee doesn’t have a 'stapled' fund and doesn’t choose a fund, then you may you must pay super contributions for your employee to your employer nominated superannuation fund (your default fund).

What happens if I don't meet my choice of fund obligations?

You could be liable for a 'choice liability' which is part of the superannuation guarantee charge (SGC). You could incur the choice liability if you:

  • don't give your eligible employees a Standard choice form within 28 days of them starting work
  • don’t pay your employee’s super contributions to their chosen super fund
  • charge your employees a fee for complying with their choice of fund.

Whether you own a small business or run a big company, BT Super can help you manage your employer super with ease.

Answer a few simple questions to help you check if you’re meeting your business super obligations and doing the right thing for your people. It only takes about 5 minutes.

Our dedicated business super team is here to help you with everything super-related.
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Fund details for BT Super

Fund - Retirement Wrap USI BTA0287AU RSE R1001327 ABN 39 827 542 991. Trustee - BT Funds Management Limited ABN 63 002 916 458 AFSL No. 233724 RSE No. L0001090.

BTFM is the trustee and the issuer of interests in BT Super, which is part of Retirement Wrap. A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) is available for BT Super and can be obtained by calling 1300 553 010 or visiting www.bt.com.au.  You should obtain and consider the PDS before deciding whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of interests in BT Super.

BTFM is a subsidiary of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714 (Westpac). Unless otherwise disclosed in the offer document for the relevant financial product an investment in BT Super is not an investment in, deposit with or any other liability of Westpac or any other company in the Westpac Group. It is subject to investment risk, including possible delays in repayment and loss of income and principal invested. Westpac and its related entities do not stand behind or otherwise guarantee the capital value or investment performance of the specific investments you select or the account generally.

BT has not reviewed any awards or other industrial instruments or agreements that are, or may become relevant to your employees. BT Super may not satisfy your obligations under any such award or industrial instrument or agreement. Before making a decision about BT Super, we recommend that you seek legal advice on its appropriateness, having regard to the requirements of any awards or other industrial instruments or agreements that are, or may become applicable.

The information provided is factual only and does not constitute financial product advice. Before acting on it, you should seek independent financial and tax advice about its appropriateness to your objectives, financial situation and needs. The information is current as at February 2020 and provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.