Can we consider an employee's salary as personal data?

Can we consider an employee's salary as personal data?
5 August 2020

Can we consider an employee's salary as personal data?

The GDPR regulations also affected the labor law framework. The employer handles the data of their employee, such as: last name, first name or date when the employee was born. The question arises as to whether we can classify wages as personal data or not?

GDPR and personal data

The GDPR Regulation came into force on 25 May 2018 and is in charge of personal data protection. The GDPR considers as personal data such data that relate to an identified or identifiable natural person. 

The processing of personal data also affects the employment relationship

The employer must work with the personal data of their employees. But can we consider salary or a variable component of it as personal data? Based on these data, it is possible to identify the economic identity of the worker. Not mentioning that the account number of the employee is also personal data.

The employee must be paid for the work performed. Personal data is also processed during the payroll processing process. 

Does the employee have to remain silent about his salary?

The employer is obliged to observe confidentiality about the amount of the employee's salary. Wages are not classified data that can be published. The employer is obliged to remain silent about the amount of wages even after the termination of employment with the employee. 

On the other hand, the employee is allowed to disclose his or her salary. It is not possible for an employer to prohibit the publication of a salary or to impose a sanction for the publication of a salary. An employee may disclose the amount of his salary, even without penalty, from approximately the beginning of 2019. There may be a formula in the work regulations or employment contract that prohibits the publication of the amount of the salary under the threat of sanctions. However, this part is invalid from January 2019. Employees can disclose the amount of their salary without fear of possible sanctions imposed by the employer.

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