SuperStream Standard for Contributions
The SuperStream Standard, also referred to as the Data and Payment Standard, is a prescribed electronic format for contribution data and payments to be sent to superannuation funds. SuperStream aims to make the processing of superannuation transactions easier, cheaper and faster across the industry.
The frequently asked questions below provide up-to-date information on the implementation of SuperStream for CSS, PSS and PSSap.
Frequently asked questions
SuperStream basics for CSS, PSS and PSSap
What do you need to know from CSS, PSS and PSSap?
Due to scheme complexity, CSS and PSS have additional data requirements which are above the industry standard. For this reason, SuperStream implementation for CSS and PSS will be unique to SuperStream implementation for your choice funds. To prepare we recommend that you review the following documentation available on our Resources page:
- SuperStream Alternative File Format Extended (SAFFE) Data Requirements - provide these requirements to your payroll provider to ensure the changes made to your payroll system will meet the needs of CSS and PSS.
- Data Population Guide - this document provides assistance on how to populate the necessary CSS and PSS data fields. Useful for employers and payroll providers.
- Contributions Payment Guide - provides assistance for employers to understand the unique requirements for making payments to CSS and PSS under SuperStream.
- Transition Process Guide - outlines the steps employers need to follow to successfully transition to SuperStream for CSS and PSS.
- Transition Checklist - a self assessment tool to ensure employers are prepared to transition to SuperStream for CSS/PSS.
- SAFFE Format Test Guide - explains in detail the process to verify that your payroll system can produce SAFFE files and check that data matches the CSS/PSS specifications. Includes scenarios and input data you must use.
CSC is in the process of on-boarding employers to SuperStream for CSS and PSS. If you have not already been contacted with an on-boarding date for your agency we will be in touch shortly.
PSSap SuperStream data can be submitted in the industry standard SuperStream Alternative File Format (SAFF) via a clearing house. Mandatory data items are aligned with industry standard requirements, however CSC have nominated optional but preferred data for PSSap for the purposes of member insurance calculations and trustee reporting and analysis. Please review the PSSap SuperStream Alternative File Format (SAFF) Data Requirements for more information.
What are the key dates for employers?
On-boarding to SuperStream has commenced with employers being on-boarded progressively from May 2016 to early 2017 at a mutually agreed date.
All employers will be on-boarded to SuperStream on payday 1 December 2016.
What do employers need to do now?
In order to be ready for SuperStream for CSS, PSS and PSSap, employers should be preparing now.
Employers should be working with their payroll provider regarding changes to their payroll system for SuperStream for CSS/PSS. If you do not know when your payroll provider’s SuperStream solution for CSS/PSS will be available you should contact them now.
You should assess your current business processes to determine what needs to change for your agency to become SuperStream compliant for CSS/PSS. To assist, we recommend that you review the Transition Process Guide and Transition Checklist available on the Resources page.
If you have implemented SuperStream for choice contributions, you are well placed for PSSap SuperStream implementation. You should speak to your payroll provider about how to extract the optional but preferred data for the PSSap SAFF.
Who is responsible for SuperStream compliance when payroll processing is outsourced?
Employers are ultimately responsible for compliance under the SuperStream regulations. Employers can outsource operational responsibility to a service provider, but this does not change the employer’s accountability. Employers should ensure they can enforce compliance through the contractual processes they have with their service providers
If you have outsourced the processing of superannuation contributions for CSS, PSS or PSSap to a service provider, you will continue to receive notifications from CSC about SuperStream implementation for CSS, PSS and PSSap. As the compliance obligation for SuperStream rests with the employer, CSC is required to send you this correspondence. If you have any questions or concerns about the information that you receive, please contact your service provider.
Our agency only has a few CSS/PSS members, do we still need to implement SuperStream?
Yes. The SuperStream Standard for Contributions must be implemented by all Australian employers. The SuperStream Standard is regulated by the ATO, therefore CSS, PSS and PSSap cannot grant you an exemption from SuperStream under any circumstances.
Where can I get more information?
For more information about SuperStream for CSS, PSS and PSSap go to Resources.
CSC has a dedicated team working on the SuperStream changes. You can contact the team on the details as follows:
Email: StrongerSuper@admin.csc.gov.au Phone: 1300 338 240 and select option 5.
More information about SuperStream in general is available on the ATO website.
SuperStream data requirements for CSS, PSS and PSSap
What do I need to do with the PSSap SAFF Data Requirements?
Employers should have already provided the PSSap SAFF Data Requirements to their payroll provider. Mandatory data items are aligned with industry standard requirements, however CSC have nominated optional but preferred data for PSSap for the purposes of member insurance calculations and trustee reporting and analysis. This data is optional as per the ATO Message Implementation Guide (MIG) and the existing SAFF solution you have in place (for choice contributions) may not extract the optional but preferred data from your payroll system. Employers should work with their payroll provider to determine if any changes need to be made to their existing SAFF solution to extract the optional but preferred data for PSSap.
Employers will be responsible for ensuring that SuperStream compliance for PSSap will be achieved in time to on-board payday 1 December 2016.
What happens if I don’t provide the optional but preferred data for PSSap?
You will still be able to submit your SAFF to a clearing house without the optional but preferred data for PSSap as these fields are not mandatory as per the ATO MIG (the industry standard). However, employers who do not provide the optional but preferred data in their SAFF will still need to supply this information to Pillar (through a manual process) as it is essential for member insurance calculations and trustee reporting and analysis. It is in the employers’ best interests to extract this information from their payroll system in their SAFF rather than having to report it manually to Pillar.
What do I need to do with the CSS/PSS Data Requirements?
You should provide the CSS/PSS SAFFE Data Requirements to your payroll provider if you have not done so already. This will ensure that the changes your provider will make to your payroll system will meet the needs of CSS and PSS. Although CSC has provided the Data Requirements to known payroll providers, it is not our place to liaise with payroll providers on an employer’s behalf. As the contract holder, the employer is responsible for ensuring that their payroll provider will be SuperStream compliant, which includes any customisation to their payroll system.
Your payroll provider may have already released a SuperStream solution for CSS/PSS which means you are ready to commence your transition process for CSS/PSS.
SuperStream solutions for CSS, PSS and PSSap
My payroll provider says they are releasing a SuperStream solution for CSS and PSS, what do I do now?
You should speak to your payroll provider to confirm when their SuperStream solution for CSS and PSS will be available. You will then need to determine how long testing the solution and releasing it into your production system may take. This timeframe will depend on the level of customisation of your agency's payroll system. You should also confirm if you will need to upgrade to the latest version of your payroll system in order to implement your payroll provider's SuperStream solution for CSS and PSS.
Can I use a clearing house for CSS/PSS?
No. Clearing houses are unable to produce the necessary CSS and PSS data required due to scheme complexity.
CSS and PSS have unique data requirements that are an extension of the standard data requirements contained in the ATO Message Implementation Guide (MIG). The ATO has released a Guidance Note: Contributions for Defined Benefits which recognises that some highly complex funds may need additional data to that required for standard accumulation funds. CSS and PSS are such schemes and need additional data to be reported to meet the legislative requirements of each scheme.
Transitional arrangements for SuperStream for CSS, PSS and PSSap
Will transitional arrangements be extended?
No. Transitional arrangements will not be extended and employers who are not SuperStream compliant by 1 July 2017 will be in breach of the SuperStream regulations.
Can I wait until the end of my transitional agreement to implement SuperStream for CSS, PSS and PSSap?
No. Although transitional arrangements are in place until 30 June 2017, CSC will be transitioning employers to SuperStream prior to June 2017. The majority of employers will be scheduled to transition to SuperStream by the end of 2016 or in early 2017. The months of March, April and May of 2017 are reserved for employers who cannot implement SuperStream any earlier due to major organisational activities (e.g. restructure).
PSSap SuperStream implementation is scheduled for payday 1 December 2016.
Can I wait until the Shared Services arrangement for my agency comes into effect before implementing SuperStream?
This will depend on the date that you are scheduled to enter into a Shared Services arrangement. If you are aware that you will be entering into a Shared Services arrangement, we recommend that you contact us to discuss your SuperStream implementation.
Email: StrongerSuper@admin.csc.gov.au Phone: 1300 338 240 and select option 5.
Implementing SuperStream for CSS, PSS and PSSap
What if I am not ready to implement SuperStream on the date CSC propose for CSS/PSS?
CSC will ensure that the proposed SuperStream on-boarding date for your agency is feasible and that you will have time to prepare. We select on-boarding dates for each agency based on the readiness of an agency’s payroll provider and ensure that there will be a reasonable amount of time to complete testing prior to on-boarding. CSC will also offer support as your agency prepares to on-board and will be available to assist should there be any issues.
It is important to start reviewing your business processes now to determine what will need to change for SuperStream. This way you will be better prepared when we contact you with an on-boarding date for your agency.
CSC will consider any reasonable requests to delay on-boarding to a date later than the proposed date if your agency has any major activities planned which may disrupt or delay SuperStream implementation.
What if I am not ready to implement SuperStream on 1 December for PSSap?
From payday 1 December 2016, the existing PSSap Employer Portal will no longer be available.
If you are currently submitting data manually through the portal you must urgently arrange to submit data via a clearing house. There will be no manual data entry option available.
If you are not SuperStream ready for PSSap and are currently submitting via a PIF, you will need to become compliant as soon as possible. In the interim, you may continue to upload a PIF to Pillar however there will be no data validation in the portal. If there are any data issues, Pillar will contact you once the data has come through to their systems.
Email: StrongerSuper@admin.csc.gov.au Phone: 1300 338 240 and select option 5.
What happens if we don't send money and data on the same day?
This is technically a breach of the regulations for which penalties can be applied.
Super funds are obliged to return money if it can’t be reconciled to a payment within three days, or reject the data if the money is not received. There will be significant administrative burden to employers to reprocess data and money if they are returned and need to be resent.
Employers are responsible for sending the data and payment on the same day, however are not responsible for delays in the banking network, such as overnight processing that may delay the payment for a day. Employers should ensure that any service provider they work with meets the obligations to send data and payment on the same day.
Sending data and payment on the same day may involve a change to current processes for some employers. We recommend you speak to your Finance Team about coordinating data and payment to be sent on the same day in preparation for SuperStream.
Will Payment Reference Numbers (PRNs) replace Lodgement Reference Numbers (LRNs) for contribution payments to CSS/PSS under the SuperStream Standard?
No. In addition to using a PRN for contribution payments to CSS and PSS under the SuperStream Standard, you must continue to use the existing LRN you have been allocated for employer liability payments. Although SuperStream introduces single payments for each fund, a single contribution payment to CSS or PSS using one PRN is not possible. The Commonwealth Banking Framework, as referenced in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (PGPA) Act 2013, requires Commonwealth monies paid to consolidated revenue (unfunded monies) to be kept separate to fund payments. This means it is not possible to include the unfunded ‘employer liability’ component with the other, funded, components when making payments.
Employers making SuperStream contributions to CSS and/or PSS will be required to make up to four separate payments:
- The sum of the member contributions and Employer Productivity Superannuation Contributions (EPSC) using one PRN for CSS;
- The sum of the member contributions, EPSC and Additional Death and Invalidity Cover (ADIC) using a different PRN for PSS;
- Employer liability using your current LRN for CSS; and
- Employer liability using your current LRN for PSS.
Note if you have more than 10,000 members in a single scheme and are using XBRL submission split payments using an additional PRN/s will be required.
Further information is available in the CSS/PSS Contributions Payment Guide.
Do the PRNs used need to be unique each fortnight?
Yes. The PRN is an 18 character unique identifier for each contribution submission and the corresponding payment. Employers must use a separate PRN for CSS and PSS and the PRNs must be unique each fortnight.
ESO will generate PRNs for you or you can choose to use your own. Whether you use the ESO generated PRN or choose to use your own, you must ensure that when making a payment you use the PRN for the corresponding data you are making a payment for. Use of an incorrect PRN (for example, the PRN used the previous fortnight) will result in the payment being rejected.
What is changing in ESO?
ESO has been updated with new SuperStream functionality, however employers will not be switched to the new version of ESO until they are ready to on-board to SuperStream. Under SuperStream employers can submit data to ESO in two ways:
- through the SuperStream Alternative File Format Extended (SAFFE) imported from your payroll system,
- manually through the contributions grid.
The ESO contributions grid has new fields to cater for negative adjustments for member contributions, Employer Productivity Superannuation Contributions (EPSC) and Additional Death and Invalidity Cover (ADIC).
For the first SuperStream pay period only, employers will need to enter sender and payer details in the new context window in the contributions grid.
For further information, please see the updated ESO User Guide.