For years and years I have heard people worried about discussing their pay with other colleagues at work because they’ll “get into trouble” or even worse “get the sack”! Well ladies and gents, today I dispel this myth and explain why it is 100% legal to discuss your pay with your colleagues and how it is ILLEGAL for your workplace to tell you otherwise. Now this of course doesn’t apply to idle gossiping in the workplace, that’s still wrong and frowned upon – however if you discuss your pay with a colleague for a genuine reason (i.e. checking there’s no unfair pay etc) then you keep on talking my friend!
I have written this blog to inform employees and employers who may not know this is the case.
Let’s get straight to brass tacks – the reason you are completely within your right to talk with fellow colleagues about your pay is because of a little piece of legislation called the Equality Act 2010 and in particular “c. 15, Part 5, Chapter 3, Disclosure of information, Section 77” – Please remember and use this piece of legislation if your manager/employer ever tries to discipline you for talking about your pay with other colleagues.
So what does this piece of law state? Well quite simply, if you are discussing pay for the purpose of checking against discrimination then your employer:
a) Cannot legally discipline you in any way for discussing your pay
b) Cannot legally have any clauses in your contract that stop you from talking about pay
So what does this mean? Well as long as you’re not simply gossiping about other people’s pay at work, you’re protected by law for talking about your pay. So if you and a work colleague do the exact same job but then through general discussions realise that they’re being paid more for the same job role then you are completely within your right to have discussed pay and should take the matter further because you’ve just proved unfair pay.
So how did this myth of not being allowed to speak about pay come from? Well sadly, prior to October 2010 employers were legally allowed to enforce contract terms which didn’t allow you to discuss your pay and therefore could write anything in your contract such as immediate dismissal/discipline if you were ever caught talking about pay…I know right!? But times have changed for the better and I personally believe it is VERY important for employees to discuss their pay since how else are you going to know if you’re being unfairly paid or discriminated against? And this is exactly why the government changed this legislation to make it easier and clearer for employees to find out about unfair pay.
True story alert! I had a friend the other day find out she was being paid less than a colleague who started the company AFTER her and was doing the same job role. So that is a clear case of unfair pay and I told her to take it to management immediately. So she booked the meeting with her superior and told her manager all about the issue…and you know what the manager’s first words were? “You shouldn’t be talking about your pay with other colleagues it’s in your contract” and I am SO glad she knew about this legislation because she had the power to say “I am totally within my right and it is illegal for you to tell me that I cannot talk about pay and illegal for you to put it in my contract”. BOOM! When she told me this story I was so happy for her and from simply knowing this piece of law she was able to get the matter taken care of and her workplace increased her salary.
Anyways I think that’s everything I needed to say. I’ll just leave you with this one thought – Knowledge is Power.
Andrew Crawford Signing Out.