Superannuation review

Update - 12 December 2018

The University of Newcastle has announced its commitment to fully remediate errors made in superannuation contributions paid on behalf of some current and former employees since 1 July 2009 and to take action to prevent a recurrence.

This site provides the latest information about the superannuation review and the University’s actions to ensure current and former employees receive the superannuation contributions to which they are entitled.

The review was undertaken from July to November this year with support from professional services firm, Deloitte, following identification of some anomalies dating from 1 July 2009*.  The review identified that some staff had received incorrect superannuation contributions as a result of the incorrect interpretation and application of superannuation rules, as well as technical and system configuration errors. These errors were fully resolved on 18 October 2018.

The University is writing individually to current and former staff to confirm it will repay the shortfall amounts plus interest.  The University will not seek to recover overpaid contributions.

For more information, read the Vice-Chancellor’s message to staff from 12 December 2018.

Colleagues,

As you will recall, in July this year, then Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen announced that the University was undertaking a superannuation review.  This followed findings by other universities and our own internal processes which identified some anomalies dating from 1 July 2009.

With the support of professional services firm Deloitte, we have now completed the review. The review identified that some staff had received incorrect superannuation contributions as a result of the incorrect interpretation and application of superannuation rules, as well as technical and system configuration errors. These errors were fully resolved on 18 October 2018.

The review analysed more than 8 million payroll transactions, representing payments to all staff from 1 July 2009 to 18 October 2018 and identified 6316 individuals who were affected to varying degrees.

On behalf of the University, I apologise for these errors and for any concern this matter causes you. We are ensuring all current and former staff have the correct superannuation contributions made on their behalf.

This week we are writing directly to those current and former staff who are affected by these errors to outline their individual details and provide information on how remediation will work. If you do not receive a letter via email this week, you have not been affected by these errors.

As well as paying amounts in arrears, we will pay interest to compensate affected staff. We will not seek to recover net overpaid contributions.

We are fortunate to be in a strong financial position and will be able to fund the superannuation remediation without the need to defer major projects or impact on staffing numbers.

Provision for the remediation costs – approximately $13.37 million – has been included in the University’s 2018 accounts.

While we have written to all affected former employees whose contact details we have, we are also doing a broad public call to encourage any former staff who believe they may be affected to register their current contact details at www.newcastle.edu.au/superannuation-review

If you would like more information about this activity, please visit www.newcastle.edu.au/superannuation-review. If you have any questions, please contact the superannuation remediation line from 9am-4pm on (02) 4921 5599 or email super.remediation@newcastle.edu.au

Best regards,

Alex

Contact details: If you wish to discuss this process, please call the Superannuation remediation line: (02) 4921 5599 or email super.remediation@newcastle.edu.au

Q&A

Last updated Wednesday 12 December 2018.

On Thursday 26 July 2018, the University of Newcastle announced it was undertaking a review of superannuation contributions following identification of some anomalies. The review was undertaken from July to November 2018 with assistance from professional services firm, Deloitte.

The review analysed more than 8 million payroll transactions representing payments to all staff from 1 July 2009 to 18 October 2018. The review identified that some current and former staff had received incorrect superannuation contributions.

On Wednesday 12 December, the University of Newcastle began advising affected current and former staff of their individual shortfalls and the process of remediation, which commenced immediately.

The review found that incorrect superannuation contributions were a result of the incorrect interpretation and application of superannuation rules, as well as technical and system configuration errors. These errors were fully resolved on 18 October 2018.

The University is writing individually to current and former staff to confirm it will repay the shortfall contribution amounts plus interest.  The University will not seek to recover net overpaid contributions.

The University has notified all affected current and former staff members who are affected (letters and emails are being sent and are expected to be received before COB Sunday 16 December). If you wish to speak to someone about your situation, please contact the superannuation remediation line on weekdays from 9am-4pm on (02) 4921 5599 or email super.remediation@newcastle.edu.au

Each affected current or former employee’s circumstances are different and each affected current or former employee has been notified of the underpaid superannuation contribution amount and applicable interest.

1 July 2009 was the date the most recent Australian Taxation Office Superannuation Guarantee Ruling (SGR 2009/2) defining Ordinary Time Earnings as they relate to superannuation came into force. In some cases, these changes were not correctly applied at the University of Newcastle.  Consequently, all contributions preceding this date are not in question.

No. These errors affected around 19% of current and former employees.

Yes. We have completed the remediation to make our payroll system and processes fully compliant and introduced controls that will mitigate the risk of this occurring again in the future.

Yes, you can contact the superannuation remediation line on weekdays from 9am-4pm on (02) 4921 5599 or email super.remediation@newcastle.edu.au

Yes, the lump sum superannuation contributions (including both the superannuation guarantee component and contractual component) that you are due to receive, are employer contributions which will count toward your annual concessional contributions cap for the current 2018-19 tax year. The receipt of these lump sum contributions means that you may exceed your concessional contributions cap for the 2018-19 tax year. If you are one of these employees, you may expect to receive an excess contributions tax determination from the ATO.

We have put in place an agreed and consistent process with the ATO by which employees may apply to have excess contributions disregarded or reallocated. If you receive (or expect to receive) an excess contributions tax determination, you can make an application to the ATO requesting the Commissioner to exercise their discretion to disregard the lump sum contributions (i.e. so that they do not count towards your concessional contributions cap) or to have them reallocated to appropriate earlier years. We are unable to make this application on your behalf. The process is as follows:

  1. Complete (within 60 days of receiving an excess contributions tax assessment/determination) the ‘Application – excess contributions determination’  available on the ATO website
  2. Attach a signed statement to the abovementioned application outlining whether the contribution is to be disregarded, or reallocated to another year of income;
  3. Attach a copy of the letter sent by the University of Newcastle to you advising the details of your lump sum remediation contribution;
  4. Download and attach a copy of this letter (PDF, 180KB) sent by the ATO to the University
  5. The ATO will process your application and advise you of the outcome in due course.

We are providing affected individuals with letters detailing their total remediation contribution which consists of their contribution shortfall and applicable interest.

The University of Newcastle paid any applicable superannuation guarantee remediation contributions to the ATO on 13 December 2018. The ATO have advised that they individually process each person’s details from the statements we have provided to them. We understand this can take some time especially when the ATO has large volumes to process. The ATO will confirm to UON when processing is completed and we will update this website. We recommend you allow several months for processing.

SSS and SASS are pooled funds where the member’s superable salary is reported to the fund annually. There will be no remediation payment made during the current review period. Where earnings have been identified as being superable, and previously they were not, they will be included in the salary reported to the fund from the next adjustment period.  Further information in regards to individual circumstances will be provided in early 2019.

If you have additional jobs where employer contributions are made to UniSuper, then remediation payments will be made to the fund and you will receive advice on this.

If you are a former employee who is due to receive a contractual superannuation remediation contribution and you do not have an active UniSuper account, you will need to advise the University of your current superannuation fund.  To find out if you are eligible to receive a contractual superannuation remediation contribution, please call the University of Newcastle superannuation remediation line: (02) 4921 5599 between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday (excluding the University’s Christmas close-down period, which is 20th December 2018 to 6th January 2019), or send an email to super.remediation@newcastle.edu.au

Where you have received a superannuation guarantee contribution via the ATO, we are advised that, until the ATO processes your details from the statements, calls to the ATO will not be able to provide you with any further information. While we can’t speak for the ATO, we understand that monies submitted to the ATO by the University will be processed to your most current superannuation fund details held by the ATO. Where the ATO does not hold current superannuation fund details, the ATO will contact you in due course to obtain current information. If you are unsure if the ATO would hold your current fund details it is recommended that you contact the ATO directly. We recommend you allow several months for processing by the ATO.

Please contact the superannuation remediation line on weekdays from 9am-4pm on (02) 4921 5599 or email super.remediation@newcastle.edu.au to discuss your options.

No. We are legally unable to pay these amounts directly to employees and former employees in cash.

As only salary sacrificed employee superannuation contributions are required to be recorded on payment summaries, no entry for these arrears will be provided. These arrears are all employer contributions under superannuation guarantee or an enterprise agreement/employment contract and not reportable.

Ordinary time earnings (OTE) are subject to the superannuation guarantee (SG). The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website provides a definition and examples of OTE.

No. Salary and wages can include items like overtime and some allowances that are not defined as OTE. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website provides a definition and examples of OTE.

No. Overtime is not part of your ordinary time earnings (OTE). The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website provides a definition and examples of OTE.

The University always welcomes your feedback. To register your feedback please contact the superannuation remediation line on weekdays from 9am-4pm on (02) 4921 5599 or email super.remediation@newcastle.edu.au

Media Release: University fixing superannuation errors - 12 December 2018

Previous updates

Earlier this year, we notified all staff that UON is undertaking an independent superannuation review as a result of the identification of some potential anomalies.

While the review is still underway, we have identified some configuration errors in our payroll software, which was leading to some under-payment of superannuation contributions for some of our staff. We have corrected these errors.

The full review is in progress and we are on track to complete it by the end of the year. All current and former staff who have not received their full superannuation contributions will be personally contacted, and repaid in full, with interest.

You do not need to take any action at this point, but for more information see the FAQs below, contact our dedicated superannuation line on (02) 4921 5599 or email super.remediation@newcastle.edu.au

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen wrote to all staff on Thursday 26 July to let them know the University was undertaking a review of superannuation payments following identification of some potential anomalies.

The matter was identified following findings by other universities and UON’s own internal processes.

The University has enlisted the expertise of professional services firm Deloitte to undertake a comprehensive review to assess the organisation’s obligations and any anomalies.

The Deloitte review is expected to be completed before the end of the year, and regular updates will be provided to staff to ensure they are fully informed.