Labor warns Morrison backbenchers on super

Barnaby Joyce is worried increasing compulsory super will make it hard for employers to keep staff.
Barnaby Joyce is worried increasing compulsory super will make it hard for employers to keep staff.

Labor is urging federal government backbenchers who have cast doubt on a legislated plan to dial up how much superannuation employers pay to "get back in their box".

Some coalition MPs are worried increasing the 9.5 per cent compulsory superannuation guarantee will make it harder for employers to keep staff and offer them pay rises.

The guarantee is due to increase to 10 per cent in 2021/22 and then rise by 0.5 per cent in each of the following four years, hitting 12 per cent in 2025/26.

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce wants any increase in what employers are paying to go straight into workers' pockets.

"What we want, once more, is if there is a wage rise to go into the salary earner - the wage earner's - pocket so they can spend it," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

He's also worried some employers will struggle to keep their staff as the guarantee goes up.

"Super does not just emanate from the ether. It comes from the employer," he said.

"If the employer can't make the payment, he'll make it up by just putting people off."

But Labor treasury spokesman Stephen Jones says the idea that doing away with the planned increases will boost wages is "absolute nonsense".

"We've got a pay crisis now that needs an answer now, and they're proposing something that won't kick in until 2021/22, through to 2024/25," he told Sky News.

The increases will mean people on low and middle incomes could retire with up to $400,000 more, he said, urging backbenchers such as Mr Joyce to pipe down.

"We encourage these high-paid government backbenchers who are earning much more in their superannuation, to get back in their box and support what has been bipartisan policy to date."

The Morrison government last month signalled a major overhaul of the superannuation sector by 2021, when the guarantee will start rising.

Australian Associated Press