Is It Illegal to Talk Pay?

When it comes to working life, there are few subjects individuals care as deeply about as wage. Negotiating an applicable wage for the work you carry out is likely one of the most vital steps in beginning a brand new job, and realizing that you simply’ve landed a good wage – particularly as compared to your colleagues – is large when it comes to satisfaction at work.

And though there has lengthy been a whole lot of secrecy surrounding pay transparency and discussions about wage, as our buddies at Refinery29 Australia have recently highlighted, extra open conversations on this house have the potential to vastly enhance work satisfaction for individuals. Because, briefly, feeling valued by your employer is central to a constructive working expertise.

Most just lately, the subject has been broached with the Australian public because of Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke’s plans to carry a brand new Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill into parliament.

Taking to Twitter on October 19, Burke shared that the brand new proposed invoice would ban pay secrecy clauses in Australia.

Per reports from the ABC, the Albanese authorities intends to use this invoice to assist deal with the gender pay hole, with hopes it can assist low-paid staff, girls particularly, to negotiate fairer compensation for his or her work.

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The ABC reviews the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill is slated to be launched to parliament on Thursday, October 27.

Prior to the information of plans to ban pay secrecy legal guidelines, the query of whether or not or not staff have been allowed to talk about salaries was pretty frequent. Back in April 2022, we chatted with a Fair Work Ombudsman spokesperson to achieve some perception into the realities of the scenario.

Here’s what that they had to say throughout that chat. Keep in thoughts that a lot of that is set to doubtlessly change (clearly), however for the second, the circumstances stay legitimate.

Is it authorized to talk about your wage with colleagues?

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The first query that many people ask on this space is whether or not or not you’re legally permitted to speak about your wage with colleagues at work. The reply to that’s, effectively… somewhat sophisticated.

“Generally, it’s legal for employees to discuss their salary with work colleagues,” the spokesperson shared.

“However, an employer may consider information about salaries confidential and take steps to protect it, for example by including a clause in an employee’s contract of employment that prevents the employee from discussing their salary.”

So, briefly, verify your work contract for any mentions of this – if is just not included, you’re within the clear, legally, to talk about pay.

What are your rights in the event you uncover pay disparities between workers members doing the identical work?

Here’s the place issues change into somewhat icky. If within the means of discussing salaries with colleagues you uncover workers members are being paid in another way for a similar work, it’s probably to trigger a problem. On this, the Fair Work Ombudsman spokesperson defined that “employees may wish to speak to their employer to address any issues about pay. In our experience, having an open and respectful conversation as early as possible can often help to resolve workplace problems”.

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If you’d like some extra info on resolving office points, you’ll be able to consult this website for extra recommendation.

And in the event you’re feeling involved about how your feedback can be acquired, the spokesperson highlighted that it’s value remembering that “employees have certain protections at work, including if they make a complaint or enquiry in relation to their employment”. That actually extends to whether or not you’re voicing a problem relating to your wage.

“It’s unlawful to pay men and women differently for the same job based on their gender or sex. This best practice guide has information about gender pay equity. Among other matters, it states that the Fair Work Commission (the independent national workplace relations tribunal) can make an equal remuneration order, which requires certain employees be given equal remuneration for work of equal or comparable value.”

Can you be fired for speaking about pay?

We’ve spoken in regards to the authorized side of discussing your wage at work, however how about an employer’s proper to terminate your employment primarily based on this transfer?

When asking Fair Work in regards to the ins and outs of this, the spokesperson defined that very like the authorized query, that is going to rely in your employment scenario.

“Whether or not an employer can end an employee’s employment for discussing pay depends on the individual circumstances. For example, if an employee discusses salary in breach of their confidentiality obligations under their employment contract, their employer may be able to take disciplinary action against the employee, which could include ending their employment,” they defined.

In saying that, it’s not only a easy case of crime and punishment.

“Employers should make sure that they follow a fair process and have a valid reason for ending employment, or they may breach unfair dismissal or adverse action laws under the Fair Work Act,” the spokesperson continued.

“Employers also needs to contemplate searching for authorized recommendation in these conditions. General details about unfair dismissal is here and basic protections issues involving dismissal is hereThe Fair Work Commission additionally offers with unfair dismissals and basic protections issues involving dismissal.


In the tip, what you’re ready to do right here tremendously is dependent upon what your contract says. Your first step right here is to go in and have a examine what it permits you to do, after which in the event you’re ready and comfy, it’s effectively value fascinated by opening up and speaking about your pay extra brazenly – it might simply assist you to or a colleague to higher perceive what your work is basically value.

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Fair Work additionally identified that any staff with questions on their pay can attain out for information or advice online.

This article was initially printed in April 2022 and up to date with information relating to the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill.