Does your co-worker know how much you make?

At some workplaces in Denmark, it’s normal for employees to know how much their co-workers make. At other workplaces, it’s not. Djøf’s position is that employees benefit from being open about how much they earn.

There are a lot of feelings tied up with how much you earn. Telling others what you make is a difficult topic to talk about regardless of where on the pay scale you are. Whether employees are open about their salary with each other is often a matter of workplace culture and the management’s attitude.

Djøf’s position is that the benefits to employees of talking to each other about how much they earn outweigh any drawbacks.

  • If employees are aware of how much their co-workers make, it is easier to take managers to task about any differences in pay.
  • Knowing the salary level in your department/firm levels the playing field when you negotiate salary with your boss. You know what others earn and what you should demand. 
  • If your co-worker does more or less the same job as you but gets paid more, you can argue that you should get a pay rise. Ask your boss what you need to do to be paid what your co-worker is getting paid. If your co-worker gets a pay rise, then you should get one, too.
  • Uncertainty about how much co-workers get paid can lead to gossip. Co-workers will naturally speculate about what others make and why.

The law is on your side

The Danish Pay-equity Act gives you the right to talk to your co-workers about how much you earn. Openness about pay is an important tool for preventing various types of wage discrimination, such as those based on gender.

But, just because it’s your right doesn’t mean your boss will think it’s a good idea.

If you get the impression that your boss frowns on you talking with your co-workers about your salary, or if your contract explicitly forbids it, you may be less likely to seek to be more open about it.

What can you do if you would like to speak openly about salary, but your co-workers, your boss or the company management would prefer not to?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple, blanket solution. If you would like to broach the issue at your workplace, but aren’t sure how, we suggest that you call us on 33 95 97 00 or mail us at dk¤djoef¤djoef.


 Read more about salary here