Already in KiwiSaver?
Chances are, when you take up a role with an employer that participates in UniSaver, you will already belong to a KiwiSaver scheme. You can’t transfer your KiwiSaver savings into UniSaver because our scheme operates under different rules. However, there is nothing to stop you belonging to both schemes. This page explains your options.
If you don’t want to continue contributing to KiwiSaver
You are required to continue making contributions to KiwiSaver unless Inland Revenue approves a saving suspension. If you’ve been in KiwiSaver for a year, you can suspend contributions by applying for a savings suspension. Inland Revenue may consider an early savings suspension (i.e. before the end of the first year) if you’re experiencing or likely to experience financial hardship.
You can apply for a savings suspension for a period of between 3 months and 1 year. At the end of that time, you can apply for another savings suspension, effectively suspending your contributions indefinitely.
You can apply for a savings suspension online by logging into MyIR. Find out more here . Inland Revenue will send you a savings suspension notice. You’ll need to give HR/Payroll a copy of this before they can stop deducting contributions from your pay. Inland Revenue will write to you and your employer to remind you when your savings suspension is coming to an end.
You can still receive government contributions while on a savings suspension. You need to make a lump-sum payment of $1,042.86 before 30 June each year to get the full government contribution. You can make the payment through MyIR or to your KiwiSaver provider.
You won’t be able to withdraw any savings you have in KiwiSaver until you become eligible under the KiwiSaver rules (generally when you reach age 65).
If you want to contribute to KiwiSaver
If you want to start or continue contributing to KiwiSaver, you’ll need to fill out a KiwiSaver deduction form (KS2) and give it to HR/payroll. (You can get a KS2 form from HR/Payroll or download one here .) Contributions will be deducted from your pay at the rate you choose on the form. The options are 3%, 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% of your gross salary.
Employer contributions to KiwiSaver
Your minimum contribution, if you are contributing to a KiwiSaver scheme, is 3% of your salary. Your employer is generally obliged to match that minimum contribution (that is, 3% of salary less employer superannuation contribution tax). An exception would be where your employer is required to contribute to another scheme on your behalf such as the Government Superannuation Fund. Also, your employer is not obliged to pay employer contributions to KiwiSaver once you reach age 65.
Employer contributions to UniSaver
Your employer will generally contribute 1.35 times your contributions up to 6.75% of your salary to UniSaver. However, they have the option of reducing this contribution by the amount they contribute to KiwiSaver scheme or to another scheme on your behalf. Check with your HR/payroll representative to find out your employer’s policy on employer contributions for staff who are contributing to UniSaver and KiwiSaver. Again, your employer is not obliged to pay employer contributions to KiwiSaver once you reach age 65.
You may be eligible for a government contribution of 50c for every dollar you contribute to KiwiSaver and/or the locked section of UniSaver up to $521.43. The main requirement to qualify for government contributions is that you are aged 18 or over and less than the age of eligibility for withdrawal from KiwiSaver or UniSaver’s locked section. You also need to be a New Zealand citizen or entitled to live in New Zealand indefinitely. You need to contribute $1,042.86 a year or more to receive the maximum government contribution.
You cannot choose which scheme your government contributions are paid into. They are paid into the scheme which first makes a claim on your behalf which will generally be your KiwiSaver scheme. This is because your employer remits your KiwiSaver contributions direct to Inland Revenue. Inland Revenue already has all the information it needs, and claims can be lodged quickly. UniSaver has an end-of-year reconciliation process which delays claims by several weeks. The exception would be if you had contributed less than $1,042.86 to your KiwiSaver scheme in which case your government contribution might be split across both schemes.