Q&A: 20% pay cut – can I access my super?

22 Apr 2020

Meg Heffron

Managing Director

Everyone at my work has taken a 20% pay cut as our company is really suffering because of COVID-19. But we still work our normal full-time hours. Will I be able to access my super under the new special rules introduced last month?

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Unfortunately no. The rules don’t look at how much you earn (unless you’re a sole trader in business for yourself), they are based on your working hours. In my view it’s a flaw in the legislation that I hope will be fixed. In your case, your working hours haven’t changed and you haven’t met the conditions for other paths to getting access to your super (eg being unemployed, made redundant after 1 January 2020 etc). The fact that you are now earning 20% less than you used to isn’t taken into account.

You should check with your employer though – things are changing fast here. If you employer has suffered a 30% drop in turnover and meets the other eligibility requirements, they may register for the JobKeeper scheme that was recently announced by the Government. That will may allow them to receive $1,500 per fortnight from the Government for employees like you which could in turn mean they can put your salary back up to normal levels.