I feel like everybody learns to check their super the hard way — by not being paid it at some point thanks to a super crappy boss. I am a 22-year-old uni student and have mostly had hospitality jobs while studying. I have in fact done two years of hard work with no super, thanks to the slimy owner of one of those neon-coloured hole-in-the-wall doughnut shops (that Instagram is so obsessed with).
I contacted the ATO, I contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman, and I even maintained contact with the boss himself after I rage-quit. In the end I lost my time as well as my money. The company just ‘phoenixed’ (went bankrupt, started a new company, then ‘bought’ the restaurant from the old company free of super debt). Scott, after you have got banks out of schools, the next thing you should throw your weight behind is stronger punishments for super theft.
Since last week’s column, I’ve been inundated by people telling me similar stories to yours, and a lot of them are young people working in hospitality. It seems there really are a lot of crappy bosses out there.
To add some salt to your doughnut, I should point out that you didn’t just lose two grand. From age 22, with compounding over your lifetime, that money would have grown into tens of thousands of dollars!
And that’s why this theft — and that’s what it is — needs to be stamped out.
I also don’t understand why the Government is offering a no-questions-asked amnesty on bosses who haven’t paid super. I guess some employees might receive a bit of what they’re owed, but I reckon it sends the wrong message.
The people I feel for — apart from you, of course — are the honest business owners who are doing the right thing, paying their staff the correct wages and super, yet are competing with the likes of George Calombaris. Now that’s a doughnut.