KiwiSaver is a saving scheme open to all New Zealand citizens and people entitled to live in New Zealand permanently who are under the age of eligibility for the New Zealand Superannuation (currently 65).
KiwiSaver membership is not compulsory, but all new employees are automatically enrolled unless they are not eligible, or meet other criteria, e.g., they are under 18 years of age, or they are already a member and only need to provide a signed KiwiSaver deduction form.
Although membership of KiwiSaver is not compulsory, if employers do not enrol new eligible employees in KiwiSaver and make compulsory employer contributions for them, the employer may have penalties imposed.
When a person joins KiwiSaver (before 2 pm 21 May 2015) the government kick starts the account with a tax-free contribution of $1000, and each year pays KiwiSaver members a tax credit of up to $521.43 (equivalent to $10 per week). The kick start payment is removed if a person joins Kiwisaver after 2 pm, 21 May 2015.
Employees who are members of KiwiSaver can choose a contribution rate of either, 2%, 4%, or 8% of their gross salary or wages. These are deducted from an employee's PAYE payment.
It is compulsory for employers to contribute to the KiwiSaver scheme for any employees who are enrolled as members. The rate is 2% of the employee's gross salary or wages and these contributions are also paid direct to Inland Revenue through the PAYE system.
Inland Revenue forwards contributions to the member's chosen KiwiSaver scheme provider. If a KiwiSaver member has not selected a scheme provider, they will be allocated to a default scheme.
New employees can opt out of KiwiSaver if they have been automatically enrolled but they must do this between the second and eighth week of starting a new job.
After 12 months membership KiwiSaver members can apply to Inland Revenue to take a contributions holiday. Breaks can be from three months to five years. These reuests have to be approved by Inland Revenue and there is a Contributions Holiday request form available in the IRD website.
Within 12 months membership, members can apply to take an early contribution holiday if they are experiencing, or likely to experience financial hardship.
After three years of KiwiSaver membership you can withdraw some or all of you KiwiSaver savings (except for the government contribution) for the purchase of you first home. You may also qualify for a first home deposit subsidy.
Employers responsibilities are to:
- check whether new or existing employees are eligible to be KiwiSaver members
- check whether a new employee should be automatically enrolled and if the criteria is met, enrol the employee
- distribute the KiwiSaver Employee information pack to new employees who are subject to automatic enrolment, and to existing employees who are considering joining
- advise employees joining KiwiSaver if you have an employer-chosen KiwiSaver scheme and give them the investment statement for that scheme
- advise employees joining KiwiSaver that you do not have an employer-chosen scheme and if the employee does not choose a scheme of their own, Inland Revenue will allocate the employee to a default scheme
- send the details of the new employees who are enrolled automatically, and existing employees who want to enrol, direct to Inland Revenue, i.e., name, address and IRD number
- deduct member contributions from members' pay and make compulsory employer contributions, and forward both to the Inland Revenue with PAYE payments
- calculate employer superannuation contributions tax (ESCT) and pay to Inland Revenue
- send any new employee opt-out request forms to Inland Revenue
- stop or start deductions if advised to by the Inland Revenue
More detailed information and all forms, are available from - http://www.ird.govt.nz/kiwisaver/employers/