In the Czech Republic, discussions occur behind closed doors and informal business debates about a susceptible topic: Should employees have the right to know their colleagues’ salaries? According to a European Directive, the answer is yes, so the Czech Republic must implement this into law. Companies that Právo contacted are apprehensive about the upcoming adjustments.
Employers warn that this information could be exploited by less competent workers, potentially shaking up relationships within the workplace and even disrupting the business. “It’s a completely absurd thing that will cause disputes among company employees. Everyone has different qualities and does different work so everyone can have a different salary,” said Peter Vavrda, head of Alpha Czech, which employs about thirty people.
The EU directive is not expected to allow people to find out the salaries of specific colleagues. “The right to information will only arise on the average earnings in the same or comparable position by gender,” said Jakub Augusta, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Labor. However, he admitted that this is sufficient information for the enquirer to deduce whether they are earning less than their colleagues and potentially ask for reasons. Employers would then be required to explain the criteria by which they reward this person and why wages differ.
Implementing the law that mandates the disclosure of salaries is still in its infancy. The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Marian Jurečka, has previously stated that the government wants to clarify how to handle European legislation first. Consequently, the new law is not expected to take effect before 2025.
Critics argue that the upcoming changes could lead to disruptions in smaller businesses. “It can be easily exploited to pressure employers and ultimately reduce their ability to reward quality employees and react to the work results of specific employees through wages and rewards,” said Jakub Svoboda, a lawyer at AK Arzinger & Partners.