CHOICE membership

Privacy details Opt Out; is it legal?

My superannuation company has sent an email saying that unless I “opt out” they will allow my details to be given to union delegates or officials to check the contributions.
Is this legal? Shouldn’t it be “opt in” for privacy issues such as this?

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Welcome to the community @Lisa.L.1

It is legal. See the following page for the details. Note an ‘Opt out option’ is specifically addressed as an example.

https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/your-privacy-rights/your-personal-information/consent-to-the-handling-of-personal-information/

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Hi Lisa, this does seem a little unusual. Award employee contributions are usually verified with the employer.

If you are not a member of a union or award employee it would seem even more unusual.

Have you contacted by phone your super fund provider to enquire about why you were sent the email, and the condition you mentioned? Suggest you use a contact number taken from a prior statement rather than rely on the email.

It may be all in order. It may pay to double check.

P.S.
You may find this helpful. It refers only to accessing employee records held by your employer.

https://www.fairwork.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/723/Record-keeping-and-pay-slips.pdf.aspx

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In fairness to the request, it is not as if many employers have been caught out not doing the right thing, small and large alike.

I could imagine a union wishing to check that a company has been doing the right thing, and having data would be part of how to do. Would you trust the company under suspicion (if there is one under suspicion), or the actual deposit history at the super fund?

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For this to occur, an individual or company (with or without an individuals concent…without may be if one didn’t read the correspondence and didn’t opt out) would need to release all their payroll data to the union to ensure that every superannuation cent has been paid by the employer to the employee.

This raises alarm bells to me as I wouldn’t want my private payroll data going to an organisation I am not a member (or even if I were a member). Such data would be invaluable to the unions and could be used far more than just for superannuation contribution auditing. It would also be invaluable information to analyse further, on sell or for placement on the dark web.

I would definitely be opting out.

This isn’t the company that employs the OP but is the Superannuation Fund they belong to. Unions carry out a valuable service in regards to monitoring their Union Members benefits.

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Which is provided for Under the Fair Work legislation. Both Fair Work inspectors and Unions can ask to inspect the employers records as evidence of correct payment.

It is an issue, at the employer end with the payments not being made from the employer. An audited record of the payments receipt records and accounts held by the employer would seem sufficient.

Do the provisions extend to a Union having access also to the records held by a super fund in respect of individuals?

It’s not evident from @Lisa.L.1 initial post if the correspondence is
(a) reliable,
(b) specific to an individual union membership,
or
(c ) a general provision that would enable a third party to enquire beyond the immediate interests of a particular member.

There was some reasoning in suggesting @Lisa.L.1 contacted the superfund for clarification.

All I can add is after nearly 40 years with a union membership, and contributing to a notable industry fund with substantially union members the request seems most odd. I’ve no recent recollection of similar correspondence. Perhaps the email serves some other purpose?

FWIW the OP asked if it the opt-out process was legal, not whether it was in her best interests or what motives or ulterior motives might be in play.

As for a union or an employer on-selling information to the dark web or just to marketing companies? Never happens excepting when it happens, that seems to be all but daily.

That it does, but it is also odd to find so many employers being caught out for underpayments or in cases no payments to either the employee or their super, so times change as does the need for more oversight. Considering some of the revelations, would everyone be happy to trust ‘the books’ in recognition there might be cooked books offered for compliance checking?

‘We’ can second guess everything but is that helpful?

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