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You're required to contribute to your employee's KiwiSaver account or complying fund at 3% of their gross salary or wage. A complying superannuation fund is a section within a registered superannuation scheme that has been approved by the Financial Markets Authority as having met certain criteria similar to KiwiSaver, eg KiwiSaver lock-in rules and portability.
KiwiSaver employer contributions need to be paid with your PAYE while contributions you make to your employees' complying funds still need to be paid directly to the applicable scheme.
If your employer's contribution to a complying fund is at a rate less than the compulsory employer contribution (CEC) rate, then you will need to pay the difference as a compulsory employer contribution to your employees KiwiSaver account.
You need to make contributions if your employee:
- is having KiwiSaver or complying fund member contributions deducted from their salary or wages, and
- is aged 18 and over, and
- has not reached the age of eligibility for New Zealand Super (currently 65), or has not been a member of a KiwiSaver scheme or complying fund for five years, whichever date is later, and
- is not a member of a defined benefit scheme.
Your employer compulsory contributions must be on top of your employee’s regular pay. This means that if you have agreed to a total remuneration package with your employee, the compulsory employer contributions must be paid on top of that package. Your employee’s take-home pay should not be reduced because you are making a compulsory contribution.
Through good faith bargaining, a salary package under an employment agreement can be negotiated whereby compulsory employer contributions can be offset against the employee’s gross pay.
Compulsory employer contributions must vest in the employee immediately.
3% is the minimum contribution rate from 1 April 2013. You can make additional voluntary contributions if you wish.
Employers were required to contribute the equivalent of:
- 1% of the employee's salary from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009
- 2% of the employee's salary from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2013
Calculating employer contributions
Here's the formula to use if you're not currently contributing to your employees' superannuation:
Payment of gross salary or wages x compulsory rate = minimum gross employer contribution
If your employee earns $2,600 a month and is a member of, and is contributing to a KiwiSaver scheme, or complying fund, from the first whole pay period after 1 April 2013, the minimum gross compulsory employer contribution will be:
$2,600 x 3% = $78.00
You only need to pay the compulsory employer contribution if your employee is a member of and is contributing to a KiwiSaver scheme or complying fund.
Employer contributions must be made through us and be accompanied by an Employer deductions (IR345) form. You must also include payment details on your Employer monthly schedule (IR348). These forms can be filed online if you are registered to use our ir-File service. We hold employer contributions until payment is cleared by your bank and then pass them on to the provider.
When adding your employer contributions to your Employer monthly schedule and your Employer deductions form, make sure the amount is net of any tax withheld.
If you have employees who belong to a superannuation scheme (eg, KiwiSaver) you’ll usually pay employer cash contributions to the scheme. Employer superannuation contribution tax (ESCT) is a tax deducted from the employer superannuation cash contributions you pay into the employee’s KiwiSaver or superannuation account.
The exception to this is if you and your employee have agreed to treat some or all of your employer contribution as salary or wages under the PAYE rules.
If you’re required to make employer contributions to your employee’s KiwiSaver account or complying fund, the minimum amount you’ll need to contribute is 3% of your employee’s salary or wage.
The Crown does not guarantee employer contributions and one-off payments.
Don't pay member or employer contributions for a complying fund to us. These should be made direct to the scheme provider.
Stopping and starting contributions
For new employees, you start paying contributions from their first pay. For existing employees, you pay contributions from their first pay after either we or the employee notifies you that they have joined a KiwiSaver scheme or complying fund.
You can stop contributions if the employee elects to take a contributions holiday or when we advise you to stop making contributions.
You are no longer legally required to pay compulsory employer contributions for employees who have reached their withdrawal date. However, you may have a contractual employment agreement obligation to continue making employer contributions or you may make voluntary employer contributions.
If a new employee opts out of KiwiSaver, we'll refund you the employer contributions you've made for the employee automatically. Any tax, withheld on employer contributions, for your employee that has opted out will be refunded to you on request. You can do this by either:
- completing an Employer monthly schedule amendments (IR344) form, or
- calling us on 0800 377 772
Interest effective date on employer contributions
We'll pay interest on employer contributions from the date we receive payment.
You must make compulsory employer contributions on backdated payments of salary or wages from which member contributions are deducted.
Short-paid employer contributions
We "pro rata" (divide equally) any short-paid employer contributions received. Balances that are too small to pro rata equally across the total number of employees may be divided at our discretion, provided the same employees do not benefit or lose out in every instance.
This does not prevent the scheme trustee from reallocating contributions on the basis provided for in their trust deed, if it differs from the pro rata calculation we use.
If you short-pay employer contributions for a period, any subsequent payments to make up the short payment will be credited to the same period.
Employer contributions exempt from ESCT (employer superannuation contribution tax)
From 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2012 compulsory employer contributions to KiwiSaver or complying funds were exempt from ESCT so long as it did not exceed the threshold provided.