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Bosses found guilty of wage theft could be banned from board roles under new law

Christian Porter at Enerflow Mining Services
Christian Porter at Enerflow Mining Services

Company directors who are discovered to be underpaying their workers could find themselves banned from sitting on boards if tougher rules are approved by the Federal Government.

Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter (pictured left) plans to boost Fair Work powers to make sure bosses who are found guilty of wage theft are banned from joining a company board. The proposed rule would not be applied retrospectively, meaning companies that were already caught would not face further action.

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‘Asleep at the wheel’

The proposal came after several high profile cases of wage theft, prompting Porter to act because corporate Australia was “asleep at the wheel”. He described the majority of companies that were caught underpaying as large businesses with huge human resources divisions.

“These organisations have a massive amount of time, energy and resources devoted to ensuring they do not pay a cent more tax than they have to,” Porter said according to the Australian Associated Press.

He echoed remarks from the Australian Council of Trade Unions that workers should be able to complain to Fair Work about underpaid wages. This would allow workers to recover wages quickly and efficiently.