The Sydney Morning Herald has reported Employers who don't pay super could face up to a year in jail.

For the first time, employers who fail to follow the Tax Office's direction to pay super entitlements to their employees will be subject to court-ordered financial penalties as well as up to 12 months' imprisonment.

And directors of companies that don't pay super will come in for special attention with a "director identification number" to help the Tax Office identify those directors who are ripping off their employees.

Employers are legally required to pay 9.5 per cent in superannuation to every employee, including part time and casual employees, over the age of 18 earning more than $450 gross a month.

In 2015, the government had plans to reduce the penalties for employers who did not pay their employees' superannuation entitlements to very little.  

Under those proposals, which were part of its "reducing red tape for business" campaign, from the middle of 2016, all employers, not just small employers, would have been liable for a much smaller penalties, an administrative fee of less than $20 or $30 for each employee whose super entitlement was not paid.

The government's new approach is contained in its draft superannuation compliance bills that have just been released for consultation.