Friday, November 19, 2010

Super Annuation

During my time in Australia I've been able to admire a lot more than just the scenery. For example the wonderful thing that is the super annuation fund. Think RRSP my Canadian and American friends but... with a big twist.

I have had two jobs in Australia. One picking apples and one doing siphon irrigation work on a chia farm. With my working holiday visa if I work at least 3 months in the harvest industry I qualify for a 2nd year visa. I definitely wanted to do that just in case I decided one year was not enough.

At my first job the supervisor asked us if we had worked before and if we had a super annuation fund already set up. We were clueless as to what this was and said no. On the bottom of each pay stub was a spot for super annuation and a nice little dollar figure next to it. I looked into it and guess what! In Australia employers are required to pay into a retirement account for their employees. A minimum of 9% of their wage. This is ON TOP of what you already make.

Say what? Yes, people its true. Even as backpackers we are paid super annuation on top of wages. This money goes into a our own retirement account that the employer set up.

When we started our second job and they asked for our super annuation details I was ready this time. I gave them the info and marveled at the accruing dollar amount at the bottom of my pay stubs. I thought to myself.. how amazing is this ?!?! I asked my boss about it and they said it was mandatory for them to do and they felt it was a great system to ensure all working individuals a healthy retirement. Wow!

What happens when I leave Australia? Once I leave the country I can claim all that money back and they will send me a cheque or deposit it into my Australian bank account. How sweet is that?
I earned it so I get to keep it. Yahoo!

I did look up the account it's in online once. I noticed the account seems to have a lot of fees but I'm not really worried about it. It feels like a bonus to me to even get the money. If I was staying longer or moving here I would see if I could get this changed but for now I am ok with it.

Pretty impressive if you ask me. It made me think about what other awesome benefits Aussies might be getting....

Any Australians out there like to clarify any of what I've written or add some bragalicious comments?


FB @ said...

That does sound pretty sweet.

Congrats!! :)

Louise said...

Super here is a compulsory 9% and will be increasing to 12% over the next few years. Employers deposit it straight into a super fund, (most allow employees to choose the fund) and it is locked away until retirement age. For me that is 58, it varies according to what year you are born.
employees can make contributions to super, either out of pre-tax funds, which means you only pay 15% tax on it when you put it in, or out of post tax funds.
when you take super out, there may be some that is tax free and some that you pay tax on, the rules around this vary depending on age, pre tax or post tax contributions and wether you take it in a lump sum or a pension.
I think it's a good system,