Finland to allow workers to check how much their colleagues are paid

Leah Panapa 12/11/2021

LISTEN: Workers in Finland who are curious to know what their colleagues are earning if they suspect there is a wage gap will be able to check if a new law passes.

According to a pay equality ranking by the OECD, Finnish women earned 17.2% less than men last year.

The Finnish government's bill, which is expected to be passed in parliament before election in April 2023, will allow workers to check what their colleagues are earning if they suspect they are being discriminated against, as part of a bid to close the wage gap between men and women.

But the biggest employers' organisation in the country has criticised the bill, saying it would only create more conflicts in the workplace.

So would a similar law ever be passed in New Zealand?

Employment law expert Max Whitehead says it's a "controversial issue" but workers are protected under current law.

"Currently the Privacy Act will cover employees' rights to have their pay not disclosed," he told Magic Talk.

For employers, Whitehead says it's a "sensitive issue" because of pay envy.

"It really is something that is going to cause a lot of difficulty in workplaces. A lot of employers actually write it in their contracts these days that employees cannot disclose their pay levels," he said.

However, Whitehead warns a large majority of current Labour government MPs are ex-unionists who are "very keen" for total disclosure.

"They've made it very clear they want in the future all pay to be transparent and that everyone will have access to it," Whitehead told Magic Talk.

Listen to the full interview with Max Whitehead above.

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