Most standard employment contracts for a Receptionist or a Nurse in General Practice include the ‘pay secrecy’ clause. This clause prohibits an employee from sharing the pay rates with other co-workers or social media. That is intended to prevent any jealousy and conflict within the team.
The new workplace laws passed in December 2022 forbid an employer to force an employee to keep the pay conditions secret. The employees now may share their pay conditions with others and on Facebook if they wish. Clinics must not offer contracts that include ‘secrecy of pay’ conditions.
New workplace laws about pay secrecy and what can be included in job advertisements (ads) now apply. These changes are part of the Australian Government’s new Secure Jobs, Better Pay legislation passed in December 2022.
What do the new laws include?
- giving employees the right to share (or not share) information about their pay
- banning pay secrecy terms in employment contracts and other workplace instruments
- prohibiting job ads with pay rates lower than the legal minimum entitlements that apply to the job.
Can an employee disclose another employee’s pay conditions?
No. That would be a breach of privacy.
Can a doctor of the clinic disclose the pay conditions even if there is a confidentiality clause in the contract?
If the doctor is a tenant of the clinic AND there is a confidentiality clause in the contract, the doctor must keep the conditions secret. Disclosing the conditions would constitute a breach of contract.
If the doctor is an employee of the clinic, he/she can disclose the pay conditions as they wish.
What if an employee already signed a contract with a ‘secrecy of pay’ clause?
The ‘secrecy of the pay’ clause in any existing contract has no power. Importantly, there is a severe penalty for offering any new contract with a ‘secrecy of pay’ clause after December 2022.