super for the self-employed

If you’re self-employed, a contractor or a sole trader, making super contributions may not be your top priority. But if you’re not putting away for your retirement savings, then who is?



do you need to pay super?


It’s generally not compulsory for contractors, sole traders or the self-employed to pay themselves super. But depending on the way your business is set up, you may have a legal obligation to pay yourself super.

For example, if you’re employed through your own ‘Pty Ltd’ company, and you’re a director, you may be legally required to contribute to your super. And if you take on eligible employees as your business grows, you definitely need to pay them super.

It’s important you’re aware of your super obligations to avoid any penalties.





why pay super if you don't legally have to?


Although you may not be required to pay yourself super, when you retire you might be thankful you did. Every little bit you put into your super now is invested and, over time, can make a big difference to your retirement lifestyle.

Aside from helping to build your retirement savings, you may be eligible for other benefits when you make contributions into your super.


Super is a tax-effective way to increase your retirement savings. And the best bit – you may even be eligible to claim your contributions as a tax deduction when you’re doing your tax return.

There are two types of super contributions you can make: before tax and after tax.


Before tax

This is money you pay into your super from your before-tax income. You will generally pay just 15% tax on these contributions rather than your marginal income tax rate.

Learn more about before tax contributions >


After tax

This is money from your take-home pay or savings that you can contribute to super. While after-tax contributions aren’t generally tax deductible, you may be able to claim a deduction by lodging an ATO ‘notice of intent to claim’ for with us.

Learn more about after tax contributions >


Contribution caps apply. Find out more on the ATO website.

You can also find out how to claim a tax deduction, or learn more about tax and super.


If you make an after-tax contribution into your super account, you may be eligible to get a super boost of up to $500 from the government (called a government co-contribution). The amount you receive depends on your income and how much you contribute.

You don’t need to apply for the super co-contribution. When you lodge your tax return, the ATO will check how much you're eligible to receive and automatically make the payment into your super account.

You can only receive a super co-contribution on after-tax contributions you haven’t claimed a tax deduction for.

More about government super co-contributions >


Insurance through your super provides you with access to competitive, flexible cover to help protect yourself and your family. HESTA Super members receive automatic insurance when they become eligible. If you’re a Personal Super member, you can apply for insurance at any time.

Read more about your insurance options >







how to pay super


The mandatory super guarantee (SG) rate that employers need to pay employees is currently 11%. When you’re self-employed you can put in as little or as much as you like, however, the same contribution limits apply to self-employed workers.

You can set up one-off or recurring payments into your super account. The easiest way to make contributions is with BPAY®. You’ll just need your BPAY biller code and reference number for your HESTA account.

To find your BPAY details simply log in to your HESTA online account and go to the 'Contribute' tab.

Get your BPAY details now




what else do you need to know?



If you employ other people, you need to make sure you’re paying them the super guarantee.

Learn about your responsibilities as an employer >



You may be eligible to receive super from individuals and organisations that hire you.

Read 'Super for the self-employed' (pdf) to find out more >



need help navigating super?

Our HESTA Superannuation Specialists can help.