BUSINESS groups have warned that employers will be forced to shoulder the burden of the lift in compulsory superannuation to 12 per cent, cancelling out the company tax cuts flowing from the mining tax.
But Superannuation Minister Bill Shorten maintained that the rise to be phased in by 2020 would be absorbed in real wage raises "and therefore never be borne by employers".
Compulsory superannuation contributions will increase from 9 per cent to 12 per cent from the start of the 2013 financial year, with the amount increasing by 0.25 or 0.5 per cent per year until the end of 2019's financial year.
As a result of the mining tax, the company tax rate will also be lowered from 30 per cent to 29 per cent.
But business groups said yesterday that employers would have to pay for the higher superannuation guarantee.
"The mining tax passage doesn't spread the benefit of the mining tax boom to non-mining business because hidden in the detail is a 3 per cent or $20 billion per year rise in the superannuation levy paid by employers large and small," Australian Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Anderson said.
Council of Small Business Australia executive director Peter Strong said he was not opposed to the 3 per cent increase but said the cost should not be borne by small business owners.
Mr Strong said the increase would effectively be a 3 per cent pay rise for employees, making small businesses lose money and be less competitive.
"Big businesses will be able to pass on the 3 per cent increase but small businesses don't have that capability," he said.