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What is salary sacrifice?

Salary sacrificing to super is when you choose to pay part of your salary into your super account before tax.

It's an extra payment on top of the super guarantee contribution your employer has to pay. And it's different to adding after-tax money to your super.

It's also called salary packaging and most employers offer it.

Are you a low-income earner?

If so, there's less benefits to salary sacrificing. Some other options to think about:

After-tax contributions
Sharing super with your spouse
Bonuses from the government

Case study

How does salary sacrifice work?

Nic is 30 years old and plans to retire at 67. They earn $80,000 a year before tax. They decide they can afford to use $100 a fortnight from their take-home pay to grow their super.

Here's what it might look like if Nic adds before-tax money to their super by salary sacrifice. And how it compares to adding after-tax money from their take-home pay.1

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After-tax contribution

Grow your super by an extra


(Increase to super before retiring at age 67)


Nic's take-home pay is $2,447 every fortnight and they make an after-tax contribution of $100


  • Super increases by $100 a fortnight
  • Take-home pay is reduced to $2,347 a fortnight
  • No tax saving (unless Nic claims a tax deduction)
Before-tax contribution
(salary sacrifice)

Grow your super by an extra


(Increase to super before retiring at age 67)

Biggest super boost


Nic's take-home pay is $2,447 every fortnight and they make a before-tax contribution of $147


  • Super increases by $125 a fortnight ($147 less 15% super tax)
  • Take-home pay is reduced to $2,347 a fortnight
  • Saves $650 a year in tax
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Why is the take-home pay the same when adding $147 vs $100?

Paying $100 after tax or $147 before tax, either way, Nic is taking out $100 from their take-home pay.

If Nic pays the $100 before tax, it gets reduced by the 15% tax on the contribution. But they don't pay income tax on it. So they can actually pay up to $147 before tax to reduce their take-home pay by $100.

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Is salary sacrifice worth it for me?

Use our salary sacrifice calculator

It's easy to do the sums online and see how extra payments add up over time. Use our super calculator to compare your options.

Go to the calculator

Benefits of salary sacrifice to super

Pay less tax

Salary sacrificing to super lowers your taxable income – so depending on your income, you could pay less tax.

Grow your super

Anything extra you put into your super now can make a big difference to how much you end up with when you retire.

Investment tax benefits

Investment earnings in super are taxed at up to 15%, which may be lower than the tax you pay on your income.

How to salary sacrifice to your super

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Salary sacrifice super limit

There are limits on how much you can add to your super each year. This includes money you pay before tax.

Going over your limit could mean paying extra tax.

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Work out how much you can afford

Check how much you want to add to your super with our salary sacrifice super calculator.

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Talk to your employer

Ask your payroll office or salary package provider about starting salary sacrifice.

You can use our email template to let them know you want to start a salary sacrifice deduction.

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Check your payments

You can see your salary sacrifice contributions in our app or in Member Online once it's started.

FAQs about salary sacrificing

Deciding what to do depends on what matters most to you – growing your super, paying less tax, or having more take-home pay.

When it comes to salary sacrificing, or salary packaging, the main things to think about are your budget and your income level.

You need to make sure you have enough left in your take-home pay if you salary sacrificed. There's no point saving extra for the future if you leave yourself short today.

If you're a low-income earner, you might not get the tax benefits. Instead, you might think about making after-tax contributions. You could also get the government's super co-contribution if you meet the rules.

Another option is to make a voluntary after-tax contribution to your super and then claim a tax deduction.

Use a salary sacrifice calculator to check if it's worth it for you. Or you can get financial advice about your super as part of your membership.2

Salary sacrificing can be very tax-effective, but it's not right for everyone.

  1. The amount you can add to your super each year is capped. You'll pay more tax if you go above the limits.
  2. You can't claim a tax deduction on salary sacrificed contributions to your super. That's because you didn't pay any income tax on them.
  3. You'll still have less take-home pay by salary sacrificing. So you'll need to make sure it fits in with your budget.

You can add up to $30,000 to your super before tax in 2024–25. It's called the super contributions cap. On top of this (and if you're eligible), you can add any unused amounts from your concessional caps from the previous 5 years (the carry forward rule).

The cap includes both your salary sacrifice and the super your employer has to pay you.

If you go above this limit, you'll pay your marginal tax rate (minus a 15% tax offset) on extra contributions.

You can generally salary sacrifice any type of benefit. But your employer has to agree to let this form part of your pay package.

Depending on the industry you work in, salary sacrifice agreements with employers can sometimes include:

  • Fringe benefits – e.g. car, mortgage, rent, school fees, childcare fees
  • Exempt benefits – e.g. mobile phone, computer software, protective clothing, or tools of trade
  • Superannuation contributions.

Ask your employer about what they can let you salary sacrifice.

Just about anyone can salary sacrifice to super. But if you're a low-income earner, you might not get the tax benefits.

It does depend on where you work. Most employers offer super salary sacrifice to their people. Although they might not let you salary package other benefits.

Think about getting personal financial advice to work out if salary sacrifice is right for you. Or use tools like salary sacrifice super calculators to do the sums yourself.

Yes, you pay 15% tax on money that you pay into your super. Or if your income plus before-tax contributions is more than $250,000, an extra 15% tax may apply.

But because you're taking that money out of your before-tax pay, you don't pay your normal tax rate on it.

If you made after-tax contributions to your super instead (also called personal or voluntary contributions), you don't pay the 15% super tax. That's unless you claim a tax deduction for it.

Salary sacrificing to super and salary packaging super are the same thing.

So you can ask your employer or salary package provider how to set up either salary sacrifice or salary packaging to your super, and they'll know what you mean.

There are other ways to give your super a boost:

  • Add extra to your super after tax
  • Find lost super
  • Combine your accounts to avoid multiple fees
  • Make spouse contributions
  • Get the government super co-contribution

Is salary sacrifice right for you?

Try our super calculator to check how much you could save and how it works with your take home pay.

Calculate now

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1. This case study is provided only to show how salary sacrificing works, so it's not about any real member, and the numbers shown don't take into account your personal circumstances. This case study assumes no other income or deductions. Additionally, figures may be rounded for ease of understanding. Members should seek advice from a qualified licensed professional, regarding their own circumstances. These figures were calculated using the Australian Retirement Trust Contributions Calculator on 1 July 2024. Please see the calculator for all assumptions made by the calculation. The information is not a guide to the future performance of any investment, including a Super Savings account or QSuper Accumulation account. Investment returns can be positive or negative and this does not guarantee a future outcome. The total saved does not take inflation into account. Check with your chosen savings product provider in regard to actual interest calculations. The calculation is based on tax rates for the 2024–25 financial year and assumes that all terms and conditions have been met.

2. Sunsuper Financial Services Pty Ltd (ABN 50 087 154 818 AFSL No. 227867) (SFS) is a separate legal entity responsible for the financial services it provides. Eligibility conditions apply. Refer to the Financial Services Guide for more information.