Employers could be hung out to dry under a raft of potential industrial relations reforms.

Attorney-General and industrial relations minister Christian Porter will release a discussion paper today which details a number of options including banning businesses who do not prevent underpayments from hiring migrant workers for a set period and disqualifying company directors from operating a business.

The changes could also see employers forced to “display a notice admitting they underpaid their employees” in their places of work.

Separate to the paper, Mr Porter’s legislation to criminalise severe cases of wage theft will be introduced in the coming weeks and will include “significant jail terms and fines”.

Employers and unions are currently able to provide feedback on the legislation.

“More still needs to be done to motivate companies to improve their performance, such as disqualifying directors of organisations that continue to get it wrong,” said Mr Porter.

While Mr Porter said underpayments are often unintentional, he reiterated they are “incredibly serious and border on negligence given we are talking about sophisticated organisations that should be capable of meeting their obligations under workplace law”.

The news comes off the back of several high-profile closures of hospitality groups including Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Melbourne and George Calombaris’ Made Establishment, with administrators currently in talks to sell off the group’s 12 restaurants.

Image credit: The Conversation

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