ARTIO 'optimistic' draft super ruling will be reversed


Trucking industry confident of blocking moves to apply superannuation payments to overtime hours

By Samantha Freestone

The trucking industry is confident of blocking moves to apply superannuation payments to overtime hours worked ahead of a final decision next week.

A draft ruling from the Australian Tax Office would see ordinary times earning (OTE) apply to overtime hours worked on a regular basis.

But Paul Ryan from the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) says he is "optimistic" a final decision to be handed down next Wednesday will knock the proposal on the head.

"I can’t say either way [but based on] a couple of conversations we have had gives me the feeling that it might revert back to [the original interpretation]," he says.

"We think their reasoning was flawed."

Ryan says ARTIO’s view was the original interpretation of OTE in the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act — based on a 38-hour week — should be reinstated.

"Their interpretation of ordinary times earning was work that was regular, normal, customary, usual. A standard working week in the transport [sector] is about 50 hours, and super was going to have to be paid based on that...not on 38," he says.

"I’m pretty confident the original intent of the law will be reinstated."

If passed, transport employers can anticipate 5-6 percent wage cost hikes.

When the draft was released in November last year, South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) chief executive Steve Shearer called the draft "mind-numbingly stupid", adding it was the equivalent of forcing money down the drain given the downturn in super investment returns.

ATO spokesperson Alison James says comment received from the draft ruling is being reviewed and finalised, but says she could not comment on the ATO’s reaction to industry concerns.

"We are reviewing that at the moment and there is nothing we can really say until May 6," she says.

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