Information made public earlier this month revealed that the Northern Territory Government currently owes as much as $30 million in unpaid superannuation funds. The money is primarily owed to public servants, and is related to another error which saw various staffers and politicians overpaid in turn.
Background of the case
As reported by various different news outlets, the NT Government informed staff by email that errors in superannuation payments had led to a discrepancy of roughly $30 million. The amount, which is owed to over 55,000 individuals total (both current and former employees), is comprised of $20 million in underpayment and an additional $10 million in accrued interest.
Additionally, it was simultaneously revealed that more than 350 people had been overpaid during the same timeframe, to a total amount of $6.5 million.
The deficit was reportedly first caused in 2009 when the Government “missed” a ruling by the Australian Taxation Officer on recreation leave loading and termination entitlements. Other changes to superannuation entitlement laws were also overlooked by the system in 2010, 2013, and 2018, according to news sources. The payroll system was never re-programmed to reflect these changes, and therefore the discrepancies have been growing ever since.
How will the deficit be resolved?
Vicki Telfer, public employment commissioner, explained that funds to repay staff have already been set aside, and won’t be deducted from current agency budgets. All debts owed to past and current staff will be repaid with interest. Additionally, some of the overpaid funds are expected to be recovered as well.
Unions and other industry representatives have been briefed on the “payroll bungle”. In an attempt to prevent any similar mistakes from happening again, an executive steering committee was established to keep a closer eye on new guidelines and rulings from the ATO.
It was also noted that workers in the private sector may be unwittingly losing out on pay, as well, if their employers have also failed to keep up with the latest ATO guidelines.
“I think it would be a wise thing for any employer to check they are paying all their entitlements correctly”, Telfer advised, according to 9 News.
Are you currently involved in a superannuation dispute? Regardless of the circumstances, be sure to get in touch with the expert superannuation lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers. With decades of experience in these highly complex cases, we can help you to be sure you’ll receive every dollar you’re owed.