Access to Information

According to law all employees have right to access certain information about regular remuneration of public servants and senior superiors. It's also prohibited for employers to let their employees undergo wage confidentiality.

The information Act for salaries of public employers.

The Information Act is applicable to all government activities including, operation of the government and municipals in addition to legal entities which a share of 51% or more is in public ownership or private entities which operates on public projects, i.e. public employer. The act indicates that the public shall have access to existing date or information, i.e. this right applies to any who so wishes. Included information which the law specifies that applicable party is obligated to give access to are information about regular remuneration of public servants and senior superiors. Under the concept regular remuneration falls all regular payments from employer, such as unmeasured overtime pays and car allowances.

Public employer is obligated to give access to the following information to the public:

  • Employee names
  • Regular salaries and other regular remuneration or commissions
  • Profession/occupation of the relevant employee

The information Committee

  • Act no: 560/2014. Ruling from November 17. 2014

    The Icelandic Physiotherapy Association (IPA) referred the handling of Directorate of Health of their request to the Information Committee about information about names of who have worked for the Directorate on certain period. The Committee was of the opinion that IPA should have access to information about regular remuneration of employees and senior superiors. Directorate of Health was considered obligated to give access to names and profession/occupation of their employees which were employed on the applicable period and about their regular remuneration but not their education or union membership. The Committee stated that the Directorate of Health must give IPA access to information about names of employed staff by the office on the period of 2011, 2012 and 2013 – about their regular remuneration and profession/occupation.

Ombudsman (Umboðsmaður Alþingis)

  • Act no. 5103/2007                                                                                                                                                                              Umboðsmaður Alþingis (Ombudsman) took this case on its own initiative due to news coverage about salaries and job-related remuneration of head of RÚV. Even thou Ombudsman closed the case after the applicable information was released the opinion covered base right of access to information to the public about regular remuneration of public servants because the information's are in sense an information about expenditure of public funds. Ombudsman is of the opinion that individualized employment contracts and other decisions or contracts which regular remuneration are based on falls under the applicable provisions. It's stated that access shall be given to, on one hand to regular salaries and on the other hand existence of other regular remuneration, such as car allowances, and what those regular remunerations are and about other regular extra work or commissions.

    It's clearly stated that authorities are not obligated to give information about total salaries due to variable factors, such as worked overtime or any salaries deduction.

Abolition of wage confidentially

Wage confidentially has been believed to be one of the reasons for a gender based salary discrimination. There is special provision in the gender equality legislation that specifically are meant to diminish such discrimination, see Article 19 which states that employees can give information about their salaries if they choose so. This means that employers can't demand their employees to sign a wage confidentiality agreement. Such provisions are prohibited and invalid if applied. This article is a great gain from prior status but isn't sufficient to abolish wage confidentiality in earnest. For that to happen it's needed to be stated in law that employers must have wage information available and transparency applied to salaries and other remuneration. Hopefully that will be found place when the gender equality legislation is reviewed. Further information on the website of Directorate of Equality.

  •  Act no. 10/2008, 19. gr. on Gender Equality.

    Women and men who are employed by the same employer shall be paid equally and shall have same benefits for the same or similar jobs. The concept Equal pay means that salaries shall be decided by the same standard for female and male. The criteria applied as base for wage decisions shall not imply any gender discrimination. Employees shall always be permitted to give information about their salaries if they choose to do so. Minister is permitted to issue a regulation regarding further implementation, including application of a Standard about gender equality such as qualification requirements to a certification agencies and fulfillment of Equal Pay Certification.