Q: My partner started a new job when he was 18 and filled out the new KiwiSaver member form given to him by his employer. Looking at buying our first home three years down the track, he realised his employer had failed to sign him up. Even if the forms he filled out were misplaced by them, they should have automatically enrolled him. We contacted the IRD and they advised although his employer failed, since he did not pick it up within a year he is entitled to nothing. Can we claw back any contributions/HomeStart grants he has missed out on?
A: All new employees need to be enrolled into KiwiSaver.
The only exceptions are generally speaking, the under-18s or over-65s and non-New Zealand citizens - and those on certain temporary contracts.
New staff must fill out an enrolment form, but have up to eight weeks to decide whether to remain in the scheme.
It's up to bosses to begin KiwiSaver deductions straight away and ensure the paperwork gets through to the IRD.
The IRD says there is no way for it to identify from an employer monthly schedule - the tax information employers send to the IRD - whether an employee is eligible or not to be a member of KiwiSaver.
"It is the employer's responsibility to apply the rules and to make the correct deductions from their employee's wages or salary," it says.
"It is the employee's responsibility to check that those deductions are being made."
Employees need to keep an eye on their payslips, but the IRD's online myIR service will also track pay deductions, employer's contributions and any member tax credits earned.
KiwiSaver providers are also legally required to provide updates at least once a year, but most will be in touch more regularly.
If you're not hearing from your provider or your payslips aren't showing any deductions it's definitely time to take action.
In the first instance you need to talk to your boss.
If you aren't happy with the response call the IRD. You need to do this as soon as possible.
The IRD says if an employee thinks deductions or contributions haven't been made they need to contact it within 12 months of starting a new job.
"If they do so then compulsory employer contributions can be backdated to the start of the employment," it says.
If more than a year has passed before the IRD are told about the problem, contributions will only need to start from the day before the IRD sends a letter to the employer requesting KiwiSaver contributions/deductions begin.
"Deductions not made from the employee's wages cannot be backdated, although the employee could make a voluntary contribution."
The HomeStart grant, administered by Housing New Zealand separately from the KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal, requires at least three years of regular contributions.