Why do people ask about salaries

Pay transparency: what is the point of disclosing salaries?

When it comes to money, tempers like to boil. Especially when you have the feeling that you are not getting what you are entitled to. Missing Pay transparency and Fair wages are common triggers for job frustration. To be paid unfairly for the same services, tasks and competencies is really annoying - and the cause of numerous debates (see: Gender Pay Gap). The new law to promote the transparency of pay structures (in short: Pay Transparency Act) is intended to remedy this - but only indirectly. It allows employees to view comparable salaries in the company. But is that also a real step forward or is it just a procrastination tactic? That brings them Pay transparency really…

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Pay transparency: No more unequal pay

Equal pay for equal work. A simple principle that everyone will likely agree to. However, this is far from reality to this day.

A Equal Pay Act the original plan should effectively close the pay gap between men and women. After massive opposition, the law was weakened, and there can no longer be any question of legally prescribed equal pay.

For this purpose, the new Entgelttransparenzgesetz - as the name suggests - should at least more transparency bring them into the wage thicket.

A Recipe for success or just one Sham?

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Pay transparency: who can use it?

Since January 6, 2018, there is a for employees in companies with more than 200 employees individual right to information. That means: Everyone should be able to find out what their colleagues earn in the same or equivalent position.

However, it is only about the so-called Comparison fees.

So you don't get to know the exact salary of the individual colleagues, only theirs Median earnings (kind of average). And only if there are at least six employees who carry out an activity that is comparable to their own (more on this later). In addition: The right to information only relates to colleagues of the respective opposite sex.

Employees cannot ask about salaries all the time, but only every two years. Unless their work in the company changes fundamentally. Then you can also before the expiry of the Two year period submit a new application.

And one more element of the law: the employee now has the right to find out which criteria were used to calculate his salary.

Wage injustice makes you sick!

Anyone who thinks they are being paid unfairly will sick more often. This is what scientists from the Ravensburg-Weingarten University of Applied Sciences found out in a study.

Suffer from unfair wages especially women - twice. Your risk of developing diabetes, depression, heart problems or high blood pressure is increased if you keep your salary too low for a long period of time. The effect is there in men also, but in a clearly weakened form.

Pay transparency: the advantages

  • transparency

    Bigger ones transparency - this is supposed to be a first step on the way to Elimination of the gender pay gap be. Small objection: wage inequality is not always based on malicious intent. Example part-time: Many part-time employees do not participate in step increases without them or their employer being even aware of this disadvantage. The disadvantages womenbecause they work part-time much more often.

    In any case, the new law sharpens - according to the theory - the awareness of company-internal Injustices. In fact, it could help that Information asymmetry that can save companies a lot of money.

    Information asymmetry means: the employer knows the salaries, everyone else only knows their own. That is a clear advantage for the company. Employees who had more salary information would have significantly better arguments for their salary negotiations. It can Pay Transparency Act help.

  • anonymity

    In companies that have a works council, you, as an employee, submit the request to the works council. The works council can see the salaries, but does not have to disclose which employee made the request. The works council then forwards the information to the employee. In companies without a works council, the employer answers the request himself. This means that anonymity is no longer guaranteed for employees.

Pay transparency: the disadvantages

  • Sanctions

    Angry tongues could say: The new regulation is a Robin Hood in legal form - just without a bow and arrow. Because Sanction options the Pay Transparency Act hardly provides. The employee does have an information service, but no right to adjustment to a higher salary - and therefore no handle. Unless there is also a violation of that General Equal Treatment Act in front. Then he could sue on the basis of his newly acquired remuneration information.

  • implementation

    What sounds nice and sensible in theory could turn out to be a chunk in tough corporate practice that is difficult to move from the spot. After all, employees are only entitled to the Comparison fees to experience. A clerk cannot inquire about the salary of the managing director, the controller cannot inquire about the salary of the marketing manager. It must be the same or equivalent positions act.

    And even then, you can only find out the salaries if there are at least six employees with an equivalent position. Because if there were fewer, just one or two, this would draw conclusions about the individual salaries allow individual persons. And that should be avoided - not least because of the Data protection.

    The higher you climb the career ladder, the fewer comparable positions there are in the company. One Head of Legal Department for example, there is usually only one. So who to compare with? In fact, for employees in exposed positions there is at all no right to information more.

  • Discipline

    The Prohibition of disciplinary measures In the Entgelttransparenzgesetz (Pay Transparency Act), this means: Employees may use their employers not disadvantaged if they make use of the wage transparency. But that is exactly what is to be feared. After all, anyone demanding comparable salaries assumes unequal treatment of their employer. A clear one Vote of no confidence.

    If this mistrust is justified or not, does not matter in principle: This should not improve the relationship between employer and employee. The damage could be limited if the request is made anonymously via the works council. But even then are psychological repercussions not be ruled out. It is conceivable that the employer's distrust of the workforce will increase at the same time. Motto: “Which of you is that molewho accuses me of a lack of fairness and Churning up dirt want?"

  • obstacles

    Employees who want to make use of their new right must first know whether their company collective agreement is or not and with what activity they want to compare themselves at all. Everything small obstaclesthat put off. It is therefore unclear how many employees Demand wage transparency - especially since it may have more disadvantages than advantages. According to the motto: “I now know in black and white that I earn too little, but I can hardly do anything about it. My employer hates me for that now. "

  • bureaucracy

    Larger companies with more than 500 employees have additional obligations. According to the law, you are required to regularly check wages using company inspection procedures Compliance with equal pay to review and inform their staff of the results. They also need to be in theirs Management reports on the State of equality inform - for the first time in 2018. In the best case scenario, these measures also lead to more wage transparency for employees. In the worst case, they burden the company with additional bureaucracy - and with it losses of time and productivity - without having the slightest effect.

On the other hand, those who are certain to be happy are the labor lawyers in Germany. For them, the Pay Transparency Act is an economic stimulus program.

Wage transparency: This is how the claim works in practice

To all of you important information on wage transparency compactly available, we have listed the most important questions for you as FAQ list answered:

  • For whom does the law of wage transparency really apply?

    The new law on wage transparency is aimed at employees in Companies with at least 200 employees. Employees in small companies are not entitled to information about salary structures from their employers.

    A similar problem can occur if there is not enough comparable employees gives. In order to receive information, a comparative activity (according to the legal text) must be carried out by at least six other employees of the opposite sex. In plain language: You can only get any information if there are six positions in the company that are very similar to your position and are filled by the opposite sex.

  • Can I ask what a colleague deserves?

    The aim of the law on wage transparency is to enforce equal pay for men and women for the same work and thus to remedy the injustice in the pay structures. It works not about comparing individual employees with one another. You therefore do not have the opportunity to ask the boss what colleague Müller earns per month.

  • How does the information for more wage transparency work?

    Anyone who thought they could knock on the boss quickly, refer to the law on wage transparency and quickly receive information about how much their colleagues earn on average, is far wrong. In fact, the information on wage transparency is an extensive process in which various steps have to be carried out until you as an employee really receive information at the end.

    In one diagram, the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth has several exemplary steps defined, which make up the right to information of the Wage Transparency Act:

    • 1. The employee turns to the works council and requests information about the Payment for a settlement activity.
    • 2. The Betriebsreit forwards the request to the employer and requests at the same time all necessary documents to compile the information.
    • 3. The company hands over the necessary documents to the works council and grants them additionally Insight into the payrolls.
    • 4. The works council checks whether the activities are really comparable. Then the Median income of comparison employees determined and communicated to the applicant.
  • How quickly does information about wage transparency have to be provided?

    Such a bureaucratic effort naturally takes a little time. The law provides for a maximum period of time for this three months The employer and the works council are available to process the application and provide information about wage transparency.

  • What can employees do to really get equal pay?

    The wage transparency in companies can with a specific application two results to have. The first case shows that an employee earns no less than their comparable colleagues of the opposite sex. It's good to know that you are not being discriminated against or paid unfairly, but that doesn't have any further consequences for now.

    It can be different when you find out that you actually earn less for the same work. Direct claims do not result from the new law on wage transparency for disadvantaged employees. It is only about the information and advice. Then, to really get equal pay, you need to get in touch with the boss.

    The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) does not allow unequal payment. So you can go before that Labor court pulling your employer into paying you a fair salary. Thanks to the wage transparency, you can finally prove that you are really being disadvantaged - which was previously the point at which many lawsuits failed.

    But it doesn't have to come to that. In the best case scenario, the boss is already showing himself understanding beforehand or you can get a raise with a few additional arguments.

  • What other points are in the Wage Transparency Act?

    For employees, the right to information is the most important aspect of the Act on Pay Transparency. In addition, there are other obligations for large employers. In the future, companies with more than 500 employees will have to regularly check whether the Fairness in Payments between men and women is respected.´

    In addition, companies should Create reportsin which they present the measures they take to establish and maintain fair pay.

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[Assistance: Sebastian Wolking]
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April 4, 2021Author: Nils Warkentin

Nils Warkentin studied business administration at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen. In the career bible, he is devoted to topics related to studies, career entry and everyday office life.

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