Can the company introduce a transparent remuneration system?

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Salary is an essential element of any employment contract. In practice, the hourly or monthly rate is determined individually at the interview stage. Information on the amount of salary received is the sole responsibility of the employee and his employer. However, can the supervisor introduce a transparent remuneration system that will be known to everyone?

Right to remuneration

The employee has the right to remuneration for the work performed - this is expressly provided for in Art. 80 of the Labor Code. For the time of non-performance of work, the employee retains the right to remuneration only if the provisions of the labor law so provide. An example of an exception that allows the salary to be paid even before work is performed are, for example, teachers' salaries, which are paid in advance. The same applies to the standstill payment when the employee was ready to perform his duties, but could not do so for reasons existing on the employer's side.

Judgment of the SA in Gdańsk of March 22, 2018 (file reference number III AUa 1311/17), W.y, as a rule, the remuneration is due for the work performed, which means that it is not allowed to remunerate an employee who does not perform the work. In turn, the amount of remuneration must take into account the criteria of the type of work performed, qualifications, quantity and quality of work. The shaping of remuneration for work should also comply with the principle of equal rights (Article 112 of the Labor Code) and the prohibition of discrimination in employment (Article 113 of the Labor Code and Chapter II a of the Labor Code)..

Information about the salary

The amount of the salary received belongs to the category of personal rights of each employee. Therefore, it is subject to full legal protection on the basis of the provisions of the Civil Code. In practice, this means that the only persons who have the right to inspect the amount of remuneration are the employer, the employee and the accountant who performs transfers at the request of the supervisor.

Third parties have the right to information about someone else's salary only if they obtain a permit from the employee himself or it is done at the express request of state authorities or courts (e.g. for the purposes of investigation, investigation, court proceedings, tax proceedings).

The secret of remuneration covers all components of the received salary, both permanent and periodically appearing (e.g. bonuses, an allowance for overtime work).

What is a transparent remuneration system?

Information regarding the remuneration of each employee is kept secret. But what if you want to introduce a transparent salary system?

We are dealing here with information made available to the public, without the consent of the persons concerned. In other words, this system consists in publishing the salary of each person employed in a given company. In practice, this may include displaying your salary data either periodically or permanently at the company's headquarters, on its website, or in the work or salary regulations. A feature that characterizes the transparent remuneration system is its availability to third parties, it does not matter whether they are people employed in a given workplace or third parties (e.g. customers of a given company, suppliers, etc.).

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Introducing a transparent remuneration system in the company

It is not possible to make the data on the salaries of employees public if there are no statutory prerequisites for it. Therefore, the employer cannot independently decide for his employees that information about their salaries 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 consent to disclose salaries (especially when the company employs a large number of people). Such actions may be considered a violation of labor law and personal rights of each employee. An employee who does not agree to make his income public and has been forced to consent to it, may effectively defend his position in court and seek appropriate redress for infringement of his personal interest.

Courts in Poland have repeatedly commented on the introduction of a transparent remuneration system in companies. The conclusion is always the same - no employer may do so without express statutory authorization. So far, such regulations are not in force in Poland.

Resolution of 7 judges of the Supreme Court of 16 July 1993 (file reference number I PZP 28/93). 8, 23 sec. 1 and art. 26 point 3 of the Act of 23 May 1991 on trade unions, the right to control the observance of the labor law by trade unions also means the right to control the amount of remuneration of employees; it does not mean, however, the right to require the employer to provide information on the amount of the employee's remuneration without his consent.

Disclosure by the employer without the consent of the employee of the amount of his remuneration for work may constitute a violation of personal interests within the meaning of Art. 23 and 24 of the Civil Code.

Remember, however, that public disclosure of information about the amount of remuneration for a given position in the company will not constitute a violation of the law, provided, however, that such data cannot be linked to a specific employee named by name. It does not matter whether the person has consented to it. In this case, the employee is not entitled to any claims against the employer, as there has been no infringement of the personal rights of a specific person (so there is no question of the supervisor's liability).

What if my salary is publicly disclosed?

We already know that a transparent remuneration system is prohibited by Polish law. The exception to this rule is, of course, the consent of all persons employed in a given company - although also in this respect there are serious doubts in the doctrine and jurisprudence.

Let us assume, however, that the amount of the person's salary was disclosed by the employer and it was against the will of the employee. In this situation, he has the full right to benefit from the protection guaranteed by the provisions of the Civil Code.

Art. 24 of the Civil Code

Anyone whose personal interests are threatened by someone else's action may demand that such action be discontinued, unless it is not unlawful. In the event of an infringement, he may also require the person who committed the infringement to perform the actions necessary to remove its effects, in particular to submit a declaration of appropriate content and in an appropriate form. On the principles provided for in the code, he may also demand monetary compensation or payment of an appropriate sum of money for a given social purpose.

If, as a result of the infringement of personal rights, property damage has been caused, the aggrieved party may demand that it be remedied on general principles.

The above provisions do not prejudice the rights provided for in other provisions, in particular in copyright and inventive law..

An employee whose salary secrecy has been breached should first ask the supervisor to immediately stop publishing such information (e.g. removing it from the notice board or the company's website). Regardless of this, he is also entitled to appropriate compensation for the violation of his personal rights (in this case, it is about the secret of remuneration). He may also demand payment of a certain amount for a social goal of his choice.

The amount of compensation is determined each time by the employee - he or she decides how painful it has become for him to publish information about his income. If such a practice has additionally caused material damage, the employee may demand appropriate compensation.

Summary

Currently, the transparent remuneration system in Polish companies has no legal basis. The only possibility in this respect is guaranteed by the full consent of the employees whose salaries are to be made public. If the employer forces his subordinates to give such consent or introduces the salary transparency against the will of the employed persons, he exposes himself to liability for infringement of someone else's personal rights (the employee has the right to demand that such actions be discontinued and appropriate compensation be paid). However, if the amount of remuneration cannot be linked to a specific employee, the employer does not bear such responsibility.