All new employees to your business are now linked or ‘stapled’ to one super fund. They’ll take this fund from job to job unless they actively choose a different super fund.
Stapling impacts new employees who don’t actively choose a super fund when they start work.
The Federal Government introduced stapling to prevent a new super account being opened every time someone starts a new job. Limiting the number of super accounts may help reduce the account fees they may be charged.
How stapling works
If your new employee:
- Wants their super paid to a particular fund, they need to complete a Standard Choice of Fund form (like our Choice of super fund form) and provide you with a copy
- Doesn’t actively choose their own super fund you’ll need to request an employee’s stapled super fund details from the ATO and pay their Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions to that fund
You don’t need to offer a choice of super fund to employees who are temporary residents or those covered by an enterprise agreement or workplace determination made before 1 January 2021. However, you’ll still need to request their stapled super fund details.
What you need to do
Step 1 – Offer new employees a choice of super fund
Provide new employees, including contractors who are employees for superannuation purposes, a choice of fund form (like our Choice of super fund: standard choice form) within 28 days of them starting work.
Most employees are eligible to choose what super fund their contributions go to.
If they give you a completed choice of fund form, you must pay contributions to their chosen fund.
Penalties apply if you don’t meet your choice of fund obligations.
Step 2 – Request stapled super fund details
If a new employee doesn’t choose a fund, you’ll need to search for their stapled super fund via the ATO. Or a tax practitioner can do this on your behalf.
You can request an employee’s stapled fund after you’ve submitted a TFN declaration form or Single Touch Payroll pay event linking you to them.
Here’s how to request stapled fund details:
- Log into the ATO Online services for business
- Enter the employee’s details including their TFN, full name, date of birth and residential or postal address if their TFN isn’t provided
- The ATO will return the stapled fund result on the screen, in minutes. Your employee will also be notified by the ATO that you’ve requested their stapled fund details. You’ll also be notified of the outcome if it was made by a representative
If you’re onboarding 100 employees or more, you can request their stapled fund details at the same time. You’ll need:
- Your business’ details, including business name and ABN
- The employees’ details, including their TFN, full name, date of birth and address
If a representative is making the request on your behalf, they’ll need their registered agent number and agent ABN.
What if the stapled fund doesn’t accept contributions?
If the stapled fund the ATO provides can’t accept contributions, you should make another request for the employee’s stapled fund, again through ATO Online services for business.
If the request returns the same stapled fund, you should call the ATO on 13 10 20 to get an alternative stapled fund.
If there’s no alternative fund, the ATO will advise whether contributions can be made to your business’ default fund or another fund that meets choice of fund rules.
Step 3 – Pay super into the stapled super fund
If the ATO provides a stapled fund result for an employee, you must pay that employee’s SG to the stapled fund.
You can pay employer contributions into your business’ default fund or another fund that meets choice of fund rules if:
- The employee doesn’t choose a fund, or
- The ATO has advised you that the employee doesn’t have a stapled fund
Read our Stapling fact sheet (PDF) for more information.
Frequently asked questions
What is stapling?
Stapling is a process that will link a person to one super fund and the stapled super fund (or account) will follow the person from job to job, unless they actively choose a different fund.
Why has stapling been introduced?
Stapling encourages people to have one super fund so they’re not paying multiple fees and can maximise their retirement savings.
Does stapling impact all of my employees?
Stapling only impacts new employees to your business who onboard after 1 November 2021. It doesn’t impact the super arrangements for employees who started before
1 November 2021.
What if my employees are covered under an enterprise agreement?
You don’t need to offer a choice of super fund to employees who are temporary residents or those covered by an enterprise agreement or workplace determination made before 1 January 2021.
What information should I provide to a new employee?
By law, you need to provide new employees with a Standard Choice of Fund form (like our Choice of super fund: standard choice form) within 28 days of joining.
You can also provide a Product Disclosure Statement (and related documents) for your default arrangement if you like. However, you can't recommend that your new employee joins your default arrangement.
Can a new employee still choose their own super fund?
Yes. New employees can choose to join your default super fund or nominate their preferred super fund by completing a Standard Choice of Fund form (like our Choice of super fund: standard choice form) – this is known as an active choice.
Can a new employee choose to join our default fund?
Yes. Your new employee can choose your default fund (such as the Media Super division of Cbus) on their completed Choice of Fund form and then you can make contributions to your default fund.
How does an employee change their stapled super fund?
Your employees can change super funds at any time by providing you with a completed Choice of Fund form (like our Choice of super fund: standard choice form).
How do I know what super fund my new employee is stapled to?
You must use the ATO’s Online services for business.
You’ll need to enter the new employee’s following details to determine their stapled super fund:
- Tax File Number (TFN)
- Full name
- Date of birth, and
- Address details
Once you’ve determined the new employee’s stapled fund, you must make contributions to that account.
What if they have more than one super fund?
If your new employee has more than one super fund, the ATO will determine which is the employee’s stapled fund based on a set of rules. These may include factors such as when the account was created, how recently contributions were made and the account balance.
What if they don’t have a stapled super fund?
If your new employee doesn’t have a super fund, they can choose their own super fund by completing a Choice of Fund form (like our Choice of super fund: standard choice form).
If they don’t have a super fund and don’t make an active choice of fund, you must pay their super into your default super fund.
Do I still need a default super fund?
Yes. If a new employee doesn’t have a super fund and doesn’t complete a Standard Choice of Fund form (like our Choice of super fund: standard choice form), you’ll pay their contributions into your default fund.
We’re here to help
If you have any questions about stapling and what it means for you, our team can help.