I work in the gig economy. Can I make a superannuation claim?

Published 21 Sep 2018

The gig economy is a global phenomenon, with a growing army of workers looking to ditch their traditional 9-5 jobs and become their own boss. But there are downsides to operating within the gig economy.

One of the biggest concerns for casual, part-time and freelance workers is superannuation. Gig workers don’t usually fall under the Superannuation Guarantee, which means they fail to receive automatic contributions to their retirement savings through their employers.

So what happens when they hurt themselves or fall ill? Can gig workers make superannuation claims for permanent disabilities and other health problems?

Understanding how super works in the gig economy

More than eight in 10 people who can choose when they work are satisfied with their jobs, compared with just 40 per cent of those with no control, according to McCrindle research.

But this freedom comes at a cost. Most organisations classify gig workers as independent contractors or freelancers, which means they aren’t entitled to super, sick pay, annual leave and other benefits.

Gig workers must therefore either set up their own super fund in the form of an SMSF or make self-contributions to an existing fund. Failing to do this could leave casual workers without any insurance coverage if they become hurt, fall ill or are prevented from returning to work due to a permanent disability.

If you find yourself in this position, you should get in touch with a superannuation disputes lawyer today to see whether you can claim. For example, you may have life insurance as part of a fund with a previous employer, or one of your gig jobs may provide superannuation unbeknownst to you.

Contacting a specialist lawyer could make the difference between severe financial struggles and having the money you need to see you through difficult times.

Are super changes on the horizon for gig workers?

Designating gig workers as self-employed is a contentious topic worldwide. Last year, ride-hailing app Uber was forced to classify its drivers as regular workers rather than self-employed following a UK Employment Appeal Tribunal decision.

The company has suggested it will contest the outcome, but the case is still likely to have ramifications for other companies and employees across the gig economy.

Meanwhile, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia has argued that the Superannuation Guarantee should be extended to independent contractors and the self-employed. Gig workers can also take more control over their super through apps such as Gigsuper.com.au, which helps users transfer retirement savings without the typical admin burden associated with traditional funds.

Superannuation changes may be on the way for gig workers, but individuals may still need to consider their life insurance options in the meantime if they want to remain covered against unforeseen circumstances.

Want to know more about the gig economy and your super? Please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers.

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