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Rights to information for employee-like persons in accordance with the German Pay Transparency Act

The German Pay Transparency Act gives employees in larger companies the right to access information about the wage structure of other employees. The field of application of this Act has now been extended by the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) in order to make it compatible with European law and to facilitate comparability with employment circumstances that are not wholly identical.

A female television journalist felt that she was being treated unfairly and, in accordance with the German Pay Transparency Act, requested information about what comparable employees were earning. The problem here was that the journalist operated as an employee-like person and not like a comparable employee. The BAG, in its landmark ruling from 25.6.2020 (case reference: 8 AZR 145/19), strengthened the employee right to access information in the case of disputes over equal pay for women and men. Besides employees, very many self-employed people who derive their income predominantly from one employer now have the right to access information about the earnings of colleagues with comparable jobs. This is because the concept of an employee, with a view towards European law, should be interpreted more broadly than it has been in Germany. European law, namely, makes no distinction between employees and employee-like persons.

Please note: Employee-like persons often include journalists, computer scientists, lawyers, architects as well as a range of service providers insofar as they normally only work for one employer.

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