From 1 January 2024, superannuation will be introduced as an employee entitlement under the National Employment Standards (NES). This means that all eligible employees have a right to superannuation contributions from their employer, regardless of whether they are covered by an award or enterprise agreement.

This change is significant because it ensures that all employees have access to superannuation, regardless of their industry or occupation. It also provides employees with a greater understanding of their superannuation entitlements and makes it easier for them to enforce their rights.

So whilst the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will still have the primary responsibility for monitoring superannuation guarantee compliance, the Fair Work Ombudsman will also have the ability to refer matters to the ATO for investigation.

What are the NES?

The NES are a set of minimum employment entitlements that apply to all employees in Australia, except seafarers and certain government employees. The NES include entitlements such as minimum wages, paid annual leave, paid sick leave, and unpaid parental leave.

Who is eligible for superannuation?

To be eligible for superannuation, an employee must be:

  • Aged 18 years or older, or
  • Under 18 years of age and earning more than $450 per month before tax.
  • Some employees may also be eligible for superannuation contributions if they are working overseas for an Australian employer.

How much superannuation do employers have to pay? 

Employers must pay superannuation contributions of 11% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings. Ordinary time earnings include base salary, bonuses, overtime, and commissions.

Real-time superannuation payments

From 1 July 2026, employers will be required to make superannuation payments to their employees’ superannuation funds on a real-time basis. This means that employers will need to pay superannuation contributions within one business day of making a payment to their employees.

By bringing superannuation payments in line with payroll cycles, the change should result in a cultural shift in attitude towards employee super.

Real-time superannuation payments will provide employees with earlier access to their superannuation savings and will help to ensure that employees receive all of the superannuation contributions that they are entitled to.


The introduction of superannuation as an employee entitlement under the NES and the introduction of real-time superannuation payments are significant changes that will benefit both employees and employers. Employees will have earlier access to their superannuation savings and will be better able to enforce their superannuation entitlements. Employers will have a simplified superannuation payment process and will be able to reduce their administrative burden.

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