KiwiSaver is open to all New Zealand citizens and people entitled to live here permanently who are under the age of eligibility for NZ Super (age 65).
To join KiwiSaver, a person must be:
- living (or normally living) in New Zealand, and
- a New Zealand citizen or entitled, under the Immigration Act 1987, to be in New Zealand indefinitely.
This means New Zealand citizens, Australian citizens, and people who hold either a New Zealand or Australian residence permit can join KiwiSaver.
State Services' employees serving outside New Zealand can also join, subject to certain conditions being met.
People who hold temporary, visitor or student permits cannot join KiwiSaver. Neither can people who are New Zealand citizens or can be in New Zealand indefinitely, but are just visiting or on holiday in New Zealand, for example, a New Zealand citizen who normally lives in Australia who returns to New Zealand and, while here, works full-time in his parents' business.
You must enrol eligible new employees (18 years or over and under 65), unless you are an exempt employer who provides access to another registered superannuation scheme that meets certain criteria.
Some employees are exempt from automatic enrolment.
Penalties apply for employers who fail to automatically enrol eligible new employees (unless they are an exempt employer).
Existing employees are not automatically enrolled but they can join KiwiSaver provided they meet the eligibility criteria. They can do this by contracting with their KiwiSaver scheme provider directly or - provided they are 18 or over - by giving you a KiwiSaver deduction form (KS2).
New employees who are automatically enrolled can opt out of KiwiSaver any time from the end of their second week to the end of their eighth week of employment (on or after day 14 and on or before day 56 after starting work). If they decide to opt out, they will need to fill in the KiwiSaver opt-out request form (KS10) in the information pack you give them. Alternatively, they will be able to opt out online.
Choosing a KiwiSaver scheme
New employees who are automatically enrolled, and existing employees who join through you, don't have to choose their own scheme but they can if they want to. If they don't choose their own scheme we will allocate them to a default scheme, or to your employer-chosen scheme if you have one.
If a staff member knows which KiwiSaver scheme they want to join they can contract with the scheme provider directly. Members can change KiwiSaver schemes but can only belong to one scheme at any time.
KiwiSaver members can withdraw their savings (including the government kick-start and member tax credits) as a lump sum when they qualify for NZ Super (when they turn 65) or after five years' membership, whichever is later.
Members may be able to withdraw their savings earlier:
- after three years to buy their first home (excluding the government kick-start and member tax credit). This withdrawal will be paid to your solicitor on the day the purchase of the property is settled.
- if they experience significant financial hardship (excluding the government kick-start and member tax credit)
- if they experience serious illness
- if they emigrate permanently (excluding the member tax credit which is paid back to the government).
If a KiwiSaver member passes away before they are 65 their savings will be paid to their estate.
KiwiSaver members can't borrow against their savings.
Other content in this section
- KiwiSaver for your employees
- Employees who are exempt from automatic enrolment
- Employees with special circumstances
Date published: 22 Jun 2010
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