Which scheme can/must new employees join?

We administer a number of super schemes and each has different eligibility rules. Learn more below about which scheme your new employee can join.

It’s important you check which super fund your new employee can (or must) join.

Starting a new employee in the wrong super fund can have significant financial consequences for both you and your employee. This can include:
  • both of you owing contributions in arrears
  • incorrect super benefits being paid
  • your employee not receiving correct insurance and invalidity entitlements.

It’s your responsibility to make sure every new employee starts in the correct fund.

Fund restrictions

All of our funds have eligibility restrictions in place, which means not just anybody can join. 

CSS and PSS are closed to new members, but employees may be able, or required, to continue contributing when they move from one employer to another. They may also be able, or required, to rejoin if they’ve contributed in the past and either left their super balance in the fund to claim at a later date or are being paid an invalidity retirement pension. Your employees’ specific options will depend on their employment contract with you. 

PSSap is a limited choice fund. This means that employees can only join when they’re in eligible employment (known as ‘employer-sponsored’ membership). As long as they remain in eligible employment for at least 12 continuous months, they’ll be able to keep contributing to PSSap if they move to a non-eligible employer (known as ‘choice membership’). 

ADF Super is also a limited choice fund. ADF Super members can only join through being a serving member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). As long as they have 12 months continuous ADF super membership1 and have not elected to contribute to a different fund, they can keep contributing to ADF Super when they transition out of the ADF. 


Membership options

Most Australian workers can choose which super fund their contributions are paid to. 
Some, however, must join a particular fund. Each employer may also have one or more default super funds. 

Employees who are required to join a particular fund are often those who have previously contributed to CSS or PSS – meaning they must rejoin (or continue contributing to) the fund when they start working for you. If they don’t want to contribute to CSS or PSS anymore, they may be able to elect to leave the scheme once they’ve rejoined.

Our members can contribute to the same fund through two (or more) participating employers at the same time. For example, they may be working part-time at two agencies at once or they may be on paid leave from one employer while working for another. 


Eligibility tools

We have two tools to help you make sure your employee is in the right scheme: 

  • Our online eligibility determiner, available through Employer Services Online (ESO), is the best way to figure out your employee’s super options.

    Use it to search our records and find out if your new employee has ever been a member of CSS or PSS. If it finds a match, enter information about their employment status and it’ll tell you if they’re able to, or required to, rejoin CSS or PSS. We recommend you check all employees born before 1991 to make sure that you don’t start them in the wrong fund.

    You can find out more about the eligibility determiner in our ESO user guide.
  • Our eligibility determiner flowchart which gives you general information about fund eligibility based on your employee’s circumstances.

    You can provide this to employees who want to know why they have been placed in a particular fund.

Starting employees in the wrong super scheme

If you start an employee in the wrong super scheme (e.g. if they were started in PSSap but had compulsory PSS membership) it’s important to set up the correct membership as soon as possible. Once this is done you need to correct any payments that have been made into the wrong scheme and ensure any contribution arrears are paid.

If you have multiple impacted employees please contact your Employer Relationship Manager so we can work together to make the required adjustments. 

Employees started in an accumulation scheme instead of a defined benefit scheme

If you started your employee in an accumulation scheme such as PSSap instead of a defined benefit scheme such as CSS or PSS, the first step is to contact us to set up their membership correctly – we need to backdate their membership to the day they were first required to join CSS or PSS. 

You’ll need to immediately pay any employer productivity superannuation contributions (EPSC) and employer liability arrears that have accrued since your employee’s start date. Your employee will also owe member contributions in arrears. Member contribution arrears should generally be repaid within 13 paydays, but we may be able to approve a longer repayment period if this would cause financial hardship. 

CSS members must contribute at 5% for the period they were in the wrong scheme. PSS members can elect a contribution rate between 2% and 10% for the period they were in the wrong scheme. This election must be made before the arrears payments begin. If they don’t elect a contribution rate for the backdated period, you should default them to a rate of 5%. Your employees may wish to seek financial advice before electing a contribution rate. 

It’s your responsibility to communicate with your employee in these situations, but we can let you know the amount of arrears that are due based on their contribution rate.

If you incorrectly started your employee in PSSap, you can request a refund of contributions made in error by completing our refund request form. The amount refunded may be different from the amount paid due to changes in the fund’s unit prices. 

If you incorrectly started your employee in a fund we don’t administer, you need to contact that other fund directly. 

Employees started in a defined benefit scheme instead of accumulation scheme

If you started your employee in either CSS or PSS and they weren’t entitled to join, contact us to close the incorrect account. We’ll refund any contributions that have been paid. You should set up your employee in PSSap (if it’s your default super fund) as soon as possible to minimise the impact on your employee’s fund earnings – you don’t need to wait for their CSS or PSS account to be closed first.
1 Due to service in the permanent forces or continuous full-time service.

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