We're concerned about... Super

CBA have not been paying superannuation on leave loading as they should have been and now they want to lock that approach into the agreement.

They did not raise the addition of a clause that would cement this practice with us, but rather just dropped it into the draft after 10 months of negotiations and then refused to explain why they think the current practice is legal or even tell us what they’re currently doing.

It’s not right for the Bank to expect workers to sign off on illegal underpayments by changing the language in the EA to suit what they’re currently doing wrong.  


They’re unlawfully robbing your super, and now they want you to lock that in.

Leave loading is an entitlement that you may not have direct connection with – because it’s often rolled up into CBA’s contracts that have left many of you worse off. However, the entitlement to leave loading – whether you get it directly or indirectly – is drawn from the EA.

During our negotiations we moved past leave loading relatively quickly and without controversy.

Cut to five weeks ago: We finally received the draft EA and found that CBA have inserted this line in the leave loading section:

“(leave loading)..is for the loss of the opportunity to work overtime during periods of annual  leave and consequently Superannuation Contributions are not made on the payment.”

They made no effort to draw our attention to this change and it was not discussed during the many months of negotiations.

The effect of including this line would be to take a very technical tax ruling and apply it unequivocally to CBA. It would mean that CBA would not have to pay superannuation on leave loading.

So what are they currently paying? And what should they be doing?

We asked them directly to confirm that they are currently paying super on leave loading. CBA told us that they didn’t know, and when pressed, they said they would get back to us. That was weeks ago. We’ve written to them twice since then.

It shouldn’t be a difficult question to answer. They’re proposing a change to the EA that relates specifically to not paying super on leave loading – surely they know what they’re doing now.

CBA have to pay superannuation on leave loading. And they’re not. They haven’t been for years.

I’ve personally just finished reviewing a pile of pay slips that show exactly that. Underpayments are one thing, but robbing people’s super is particularly damaging. Just as your super compounds over time, so does the scale of the detriment where it isn’t properly paid. Even a few hundred dollars, if lost from your super, represents a massive loss by the time you retire.

The (very technical) tax ruling that CBA are trying to make use of and embed in the EA here indicates that there are some limited circumstances where an employer may not have to pay superannuation on leave loading. If CBA think that this approach (both in the past and in the future) is one that is lawful and that can be applied to CBA, then it should not be hard for them to explain and prove it.

Rather than do that, CBA have quietly dropped in a line that would formalise something we now know they’re already doing wrong: Unlawfully not paying superannuation on leave loading.

They’re unlawfully robbing your super, and now they want you to lock that in.

This is just one neat example of CBA’s approach to formalising their dodgy, underpaying practices by way of your EA. This is why the process has taken so long, and this is why we must stand together and vote NO to their agreement.

NO to more of the same behaviour that has left people worse off for so many years.