Who you contribute for

If you're an employer, you'll generally need to pay superannuation contributions for most of your employees, but there are exceptions in some cases.

As an employer, legislation requires you to pay Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions for most of your employees. This is paid into a complying superannuation fund, such as Media Super.

However, you are NOT required to make super payments for employees who are:

  • Aged under 18 years of age and working 30 hours or less per week
  • Non-residents being paid for work done outside Australia
  • Covered by bilateral superannuation agreements with other countries
  • Certain senior foreign executives who hold certain visas or entry permits.

Paid to do work of a domestic or private nature for not more than 30 hours per week.

To work out if you’re an employer for superannuation guarantee purposes or whether your employees are eligible for super, visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website

Age restrictions on making contributions

Effective 1 July 2013, the government removed the upper age limit applicable to the Superannuation Guarantee. This allows older workers to continue to grow their super if they are still working, regardless of their age.

Employers can claim tax deductions for SG contributions made for these employees.

Age restrictions still apply on additional concessional and non-concessional contributions.

For the latest advice, visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

Contribution typeEmployee's age


Mandated SG or award contributionsAccepted without restrictionAccepted without restrictionAccepted without restriction
Additional employer contributions, including salary sacrifice and self employed contributionsAccepted without restrictionAccepted without restrictionCannot be accepted
Voluntary after-tax contributionsAccepted without restrictionAccepted without restrictionCannot be accepted
Spouse contributionsAccepted without restrictionAccepted without restrictionCannot be accepted

Work tests for older employees

From 1 July 2022, employees aged under 75 can make or receive after-tax and salary-sacrifice contributions, regardless of their working hours. They may also be able to contribute up to $330,000 in after-tax contributions in any three-year period.

This was previously limited to $110,000 each year, with contributions over this limit taxed at 45% (plus the Medicare levy and other applicable Government levies). Eligibility rules apply, visit ato.gov.au to learn more.

No additional contributions can be made once the employee turns 75. Contributions made by someone aged 74 must be received within 28 days of the end of the month in which the individual turns 75. If not, they cannot be accepted.

Employer super contributions for contractors

Some contractors are considered employees for superannuation purposes.

If you have hired a contractor, and they:

  • Are remunerated wholly or principally for their personal skill and labour
  • Perform the contractual work personally
  • Are paid by reference to hours worked, rather than for the amount of work performed, then the contractor is considered as an employee. You are also required to make a super contribution for at least that portion of their contract.

Visit the ATO website and access the employee/contractor decision tool for help identifying workers.

Leave, workers' compensation and other payments

Employer contributions must be made on behalf of your employees while they remain in your employment. This includes employees who are on:

  • Annual, sick/carer’s, compassionate or long-service leave
  • Workers’ compensation if the employee is performing duties while still injured.

This does NOT include:

  • Payments made in respect of jury service or accident make-up pay under the provisions of a relevant award or industrial agreement
  • Parental leave (unless agreed under a workplace or enterprise agreement)
  • Workers’ compensation payments, where the employee is not performing services.

If an employee is absent without pay, generally no employer contributions are payable.

For more information, visit the ATO website and access the Superannuation Guarantee decision tool.