Can an employer introduce a transparent remuneration system?
Remuneration is an essential element of any employment contract. In practice, the hourly or monthly rate is set individually already at the interview stage. Information regarding the amount of salary received is the exclusive matter of the employee and his employer.
The employee has the right to remuneration for the work performed – this is expressly stated in Article 80 of the Labour Code. For the duration of the non-employment, the employee retains the right to remuneration only if the provisions of labour law so provide. An example of an exception allowing you to pay your salary before you work is, for example, teachers’ salaries, which are paid in advance. The same is true of the payment of the parking wage when the staff member was ready to perform his duties, but could not do so for reasons existing on the part of the employee.
The amount of salary received belongs to the category of personal rights of each employee. It is therefore subject to full legal protection under the provisions of the Civil Code. In practice, this means that the only persons having the right to access the amount of remuneration are the employer, the employee and the accountant who makes transfers on the instructions of the superior.
Third parties have the right to information about someone else’s salary only if they obtain the permission of the employee himself or at the express request of state authorities or courts (e.g. for the purposes of investigation, investigation, legal proceedings, tax proceedings).
The secrecy of remuneration covers all components of the salary received, both fixed and periodically appearing (e.g. bonuses, overtime allowance).
Information on the remuneration of each employee is covered by legally protected secrecy. But what if you want to introduce a transparent salary system?
This is information made available to the public, without the consent of the persons concerned. In other words, that system consists in the public ity of the salary of each person employed in the company. In practice, this may consist in the periodic or permanent display of salary data at the company’s premises, on its website or in the rules of work or pay. The transparent remuneration system is characterised by its accessibility to third parties, it does not matter whether it is persons employed in a given workplace or third parties (e.g. customers of the company, suppliers, etc.).
It is not possible to make the data on employees’ salaries public unless there are legally defined conditions for doing so. The employer cannot therefore decide for himself for his employees that information on their remuneration will be widely available (even if the salaries of all employees are identical, which of course never happens in practice).
A similar situation will occur if all employees sign a salary disclosure agreement (especially if the company employs a large number of people). Such actions may be considered a violation of labour law and the personal rights of any employee. An employee who refuses to make his income public and has been compelled to do so can effectively defend his position before the court and claim appropriate compensation for violating his personal property.
Courts in Poland have repeatedly spoken about the introduction of a transparent remuneration system in companies. The application is always the same – no employer can do so without express statutory authorisation. For now, there are no such regulations in Poland.
Please note, however, that public disclosure of salary information for a particular position in your company will not constitute a violation of the law, provided that such data cannot be associated with a specific employee named by name. It does not matter whether the person has given his or her consent. In this case, the employee is not entitled to any claim against the employer, since there has been no violation of the personal rights of a particular person (so there is no question of liability of the superior).
We already know that a transparent remuneration system is not allowed by Polish law. The exception to this principle is, of course, the consent of all employees in the company concerned – although there are serious doubts of doctrine and case law in this regard.
Let us assume, however, that the amount of a person’s salary has been disclosed by the employer and this has occurred against the will of the employee. In this situation, he has every right to benefit from the protection guaranteed by the provisions of the Civil Code.
An employee who has breached the secrecy of his/her salary should first ask his/her supervisor to stop making such information public without delay (e.g. removing it from the notice board or the company’s website). Never all this, he also has the right to adequate compensation for the infringement of his personal rights (in this case, the secrecy of remuneration). It may also request payment of a certain amount for a social purpose of its own.
The amount of compensation is determined each time by the employee – it is he who decides how difficult it became for him to make public information about income. If such conduct has caused additional material damage, the employee may claim appropriate compensation.