Boutique PR, Advertising and Marketing Recruitment Services

Matching industry leaders with high calibre talent in Sydney & Melbourne
Agency Iceberg

Pay Secrecy is Banned in Australia!

Discussing your pay with your co-workers has always been something that was frowned upon in Australia or even worse, you could be disciplined for it. 

I always thought to myself, “if we’re all being paid fairly for the work that we do, why can’t we discuss it openly?”.

Well, you can rest easy because pay secrecy is now banned thanks to the recent passing of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill reform package, which makes amends to the Fair Work Act. Passed on December 2, 2022.  This bill aims to improve job security and close the gender pay gap.  

The Fair Work Act now gives employees and future employees new workplace rights to:

  • Share or not share their salary information
  • Speak about their terms and conditions in relation relating to their salary
  • Ask other employees about their salary
  • Ask other employees about their terms and conditions relating to their salary.

Why does this matter?

It can be summed up into three words, GENDER PAY GAP, which in Australia is currently 22.8%. The gender pay gap is an internationally recognised measure of women’s position in the economy in comparison to men. It measures the difference between the average earnings of men and women in the workforce. In Australia, The Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 requires non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees to submit a report to the WGEA. From there, WGEA compiles the data and publishes a yearly report based on its findings. For more information about the gender pay gap, read our blog HERE.

Women primarily have been hurt by pay secrecy. Women are paid $263.90 less than men on a weekly basis and 22.3% of CEOs in Australia are women. Banning employees from speaking about salaries not only creates an environment that fosters secrets but also allows managers to make unconsciously biased decisions.

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Tony Burke recently said, “Banning them (pay secrecy clauses) will improve transparency and reduce the risk of gender pay discrimination by allowing women to compare their pay with that of their co-workers. Differences can be discussed with their manager without fear of punishment.” 

While it won’t completely close the gender pay gap, it’s a step in the right direction towards pay equality.

Am I being underpaid?

Now that you can freely ask your co-workers, friends, and industry peers what their salary is, how does it compare to your salary? What happens if your co-worker performing a similar job is paid more? What if they have less experience, yet are still paid more? Now that pay secrecy is banned, you have the right to discuss your salary and how it compares to co-workers and industry benchmarks with your employer. 

Not sure what your market value is? If you work in the digital world, purchase a copy of our Digital Salary Survey Guide 2022 for a comprehensive breakdown of salary benchmarks. If you work in other industries, visit HERE for an idea of what you’re worth. 

New Year, More Money!

It’s that time of year where annual pay reviews are being scheduled.  If yours has been overlooked, perhaps schedule in some time with your Manager to have “the chat”.  

Here’s some helpful tips to ensure that you get the green light for your pay rise:

  1. Come prepared! Do you have evidence of how you have improved since your last pay review? Bring this with you! Any evidence of how you have smashed your KPI’s, positive client feedback, peer reviews of how you have contributed to the agency culture etc will all help!
  2. Have a figure in mind and ask for it.  The industry standard for a pay rise increase is 5-10% per annum.  However, we’ve seen increases of up to 20% post covid due to staff shortages in Australia.  As always, if you are asking for a pay increase, be prepared to back it up with why you want this figure, how you feel you have earned it and what you will be bringing to the table. Go hard! 
  3. Back-up Plan.  As always, you need to have a Plan B. If you ask for a pay increase and your Manager says no, are you prepared to walk away? OR are you willing to negotiate? What about half way? You negotiate half the raise you have asked for and in six months you increase to the full amount that you have asked for? OR you put in place new KPI’s and if you reach them in three months, the pay increase that you have asked for is put in place? 

Discussing your pay can be tricky, especially if you truly believe you are being undervalued in your workplace. As always, know your worth and know when it’s time to walk away and find an employer that values your hard work and loves having you as part of their team.  

Have a great week!


Iceberg, Melbourne’s go-to recruitment company! Specialising exclusively in recruiting for digital, marketing, PR, digital, experiential & advertising jobs. Permanent, freelance and contract roles available!. Sign up to our weekly newsletter HERE.