My employer has recently taken the decision to cease paying superannuation on any amount that staff salary package on any item or sum ( cash or non cash). As this is in the Community sector, there is good salary packaging entitlements as an incentive to retain staff in an otherwise poorly paid community sector. Staff are able to 'package' approx $16000 from gross earnings towards things like rent, mortgage or credit card. Many staff are part time and package a high % of their wage. These staff will now be paid very little if any super by the employer. Those that can package to the maximum amount allowable stand to now lose 9% of the $16000 per annum - funds that will no longer go into their super ( some $1500) This decision was communicated by an email that framed it as an error that mgt had been overpaying staff super-thereby suggesting we should be grateful that they dont want repayment of the over payments they have been making for ever.....! They also frame it as a decision that has to be made ie it is not discretionary on their part. It looks like a money saving grab by a stressed organisation at employee expense to me. I have spoken to the ATO and been referred to some fringe benefit legislation that IMO makes it clear that this is a discretionary decision and is based on a favorable interpretation of the wording. The officer I spoke to said as much - that some employers choose to make this interpretation and that it is within the law to do so....but the vast majority do not and calculate super on gross wages. I am very pissed of at this apparent money grab by this organisation and at the deceptive spin they are using to cache the decision within.
The question: Can they legally do this to existing staff who have applied for and gained employment there on the implict understanding that they are entitled to the salary packaging and super calculated on 9% of gross wages? - as has been the case until now.
I am not aware of any other local organistion that benefits from this interpretation of the legislation. Probably because they are decently run organsiations that respect the concept of the superannuation guarantee and so dont go looking for loopholes.
Appreciate any thoughts on this from both employers and employees..and especially those with legal know how.