Find information about an employee’s right to share (or not share) information about their pay or employment terms and conditions.
We also have information on the rules about including pay secrecy terms in employment contracts, awards and agreements.
On this page:
Employees and future employees have the right to:
- share (or not share) information about:
- their pay
- their employment terms and conditions that would be needed to work out their pay, such as their hours of work
- ask other employees (with the same or a different employer) about their:
- employment terms and conditions that would be needed to work out their pay, such as their hours of work.
Employees can’t be forced to give this information to another employee if they don’t want to.
Employees can also exercise these rights even after they leave their employment.
Employers can’t take adverse action against an existing or future employee:
- because of these rights, or
- to prevent an existing or future employee from exercising these rights.
Learn more about adverse action at Protections at work.
When these rights apply
These workplace rights apply to employees with:
- employment contracts that were entered into on or after 7 December 2022, or
- employment contracts entered into before 7 December 2022 where the contract doesn’t include pay secrecy terms that are inconsistent with these rights.
Where a contract entered into before 7 December 2022 has pay secrecy terms that are inconsistent with these rights, and the contract is changed after 7 December 2022, these rights apply after the contract is changed.
We (the Fair Work Ombudsman) have the power to start court proceedings for alleged breaches of these rights. For information about how we perform our compliance and enforcement role, you can read our Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
Pay secrecy terms are terms in employment contracts, awards or agreements that are inconsistent with the workplace rights described above. Rules now apply about including pay secrecy terms in certain workplace instruments. Find information below about what the rules are and when they start applying:
- employment contracts and other written agreements made on or after 7 December 2022
- existing employment contracts made before 7 December 2022
- new or existing fair work instruments (awards and agreements).
To help work out if you have pay secrecy terms in an instrument that applies to you, check:
- your award – access your award on our List of awards page, or find your award using our 3-step Find my award tool
- your agreement (if you have one) – find your registered agreement in the Fair Work Commission – Find my agreement database
- your employment contract or other written agreements.
From 7 December 2022:
- pay secrecy terms that are included in employment contracts entered into on or after this date have no effect and can’t be enforced
- pay secrecy terms can’t be included in other new written agreements and employers could face penalties if they do include them.
From 7 June 2023, pay secrecy terms can’t be included in employment contracts at all. Employers who enter into employment contracts that have pay secrecy terms in them could face penalties.
Example: New employment contract with pay secrecy terms
Peppa is thinking about accepting a job as a medical receptionist at her local general practice.
Peppa is given an employment contract to sign that says she isn’t allowed to discuss her pay with anyone. A friend tells Peppa that they think this rule in her contract isn’t right.
Before she signs the contract, Peppa decides to check what laws apply on our website.
Peppa learns that for employment contracts made on or after 7 December 2022, a pay secrecy term has no effect and can’t be enforced. She also learns that she has a right to talk about her pay with anyone if she wants to. This means that the pay secrecy term in her proposed contract has no effect.
Peppa talks to the employer about these laws. The employer agrees to take the pay secrecy term out and gives her a new version of the contract to consider.
Pay secrecy terms in employment contracts entered into before 7 December 2022 will continue to operate, until those contracts are varied.
Where this happens, any pay secrecy terms will no longer have effect and can’t be enforced.
Example: Existing employment contract with pay secrecy
Jonah works in a call centre. He entered into an employment contract in August 2021.
Jonah’s contract has a pay secrecy term that prevents him from discussing his pay (such as his weekly wage and any annual bonuses) with other employees.
Jonah’s pay secrecy term is still in effect because he agreed to it before 7 December 2022.
Any pay secrecy terms agreed to before 7 December 2022 continue to operate until the contract is changed.
Fair work instruments are legal workplace documents such as awards or enterprise agreements. They’re separate from employment contracts or workplace policies.
Pay secrecy terms in a fair work instrument have no effect and can’t be enforced after 7 December 2022. This applies regardless of whether the instrument was made before, on, or after this date.
We (the Fair Work Ombudsman) have the power to start court proceedings for alleged breaches of these rules. For information about how we perform our compliance and enforcement role, you can read our Compliance and Enforcement Policy.