Should we talk about our salaries? 同事之間工資應該公開嗎?

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Vocabulary: work 詞彙:工作

It’s a touchy subject. Talking socially about money can make people feel uncomfortable. But at work, have a conversation about how much people earn, and things can not only get awkward, but, in some cases, it can get you sacked.

According to a survey by the Trades Union Congress, 1 in 5 workers “have been told they can’t talk about their pay at work”. This, concludes the TUC, indicates how common pay secrecy or ‘gagging’ clauses are in employment contracts. ‘Pay secrecy clauses are a get out of jail free card for bad bosses,’ said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady. ‘They stop workers from challenging unfair pay, allow top executives to hoard profits and encourage discrimination. More openness about wages is essential to building fairer workplaces.’

So, should we talk about how much we earn? It’s not so simple. Even without the contractual obligations, people may still be reluctant. “I personally have found it’s better not looking and not knowing,” Tracy Jordan, an HR professional, told the BBC. “Even if you feel you are paid a fair wage, there will always be someone that you perceive is doing a lesser job and is earning more. Rather than feeling perpetually dissatisfied, I think ignorance can be bliss.”

Money is tied up with complex emotions, Brianna McGurran, a money expert at the personal finance blog NerdWallet, told the New York Times. It involves emotions like shame, success and fear of failure. It also influences how people view you. People’s money is tied to their self-worth. As a result, culturally, it can be bit of a taboo.

But all that may change. First of all, pay secrecy clauses are unenforceable in the UK due to the UK Equality Act 2010. An employee must always be able to find out if they are being discriminated against in terms of pay. In addition, The European Union is considering new legislation on pay transparency in order to reduce gender pay, earnings and pension gaps. So, for better or worse it may be something we all have to get used to. Over time, talking about our salaries may become just another matter for small talk.

詞彙表

touchy 敏感的,需要小心對待的
uncomfortable 令人不自在的
awkward 尷尬的
sacked 被解僱
pay secrecy 薪資保密
gagging clause 封口條款
employment contract 僱傭合同
top executives 高層管理團隊
discrimination 歧視
wage 工資,工錢
contractual obligation 合同義務
reluctant 不情願的
dissatisfied 不滿意的
ignorance is bliss 無知即是福
personal finance 個人財物
fear of failure 害怕失敗
self-worth 自我價值
unenforceable 不能強制執行的
pay gap 薪酬差距
salary 薪水,工資

測驗與練習

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. What percentage of workers has been told not to talk about pay at work?

2. Why is pay secrecy bad for workers, according to the TUC?

3. Why does Tracy Jordan think ‘ignorance is bliss’?

4. Why can money be a bit of a taboo, culturally speaking?

5. What is the European Union considering?

2. 選擇意思恰當的單詞或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. Sue just broke up with her boyfriend, so she’s a little _______ today.

touchy                      sacked                     dissatisfied                      self-worth

2. The judge said both parties had to sign a _______ forbidding them to speak to the media.

pay secrecy              gagging clause       contractual obligation      pay gap

3. You can’t pay them different wages for the same job. That’s _______.

awkward                   discrimination         reluctant                         shame

4. My dad says it’s the _______ that stops people even trying in the first place.

shame                       success                 self-worth                        fear of failure

5. He comes across as a bit _______, but he’s just shy and he has a very warm
heart.

touchy                       awkward                dissatisfied                      shame

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. What percentage of workers has been told not to talk about pay at work?
20% (1 in 5 workers “have been told they can’t talk about their pay at work”.)

2. Why is pay secrecy bad for workers according to the TUC?
It stops workers from challenging unfair pay and allows top executives to hoard profits and encourage discrimination.

3. Why does Tracy Jordan think ‘it’s better not knowing’?
Because even if you’re paid a fair wage, there will always be someone that you perceive is doing a lesser job and is earning more.

4. Why can money be a bit of a taboo, culturally speaking?
It is connected to complex emotions and people’s self-worth.

5. What is the European Union considering?
It is considering new legislation on pay transparency.

2. 選擇意思恰當的單詞或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. Sue just broke up with her boyfriend, so she’s a little touchy today.

2. The judge said both parties had to sign a gagging clause forbidding them to speak to the media.

3. You can’t pay them different wages for the same job. That’s discrimination.

4. My dad says it’s the fear of failure that stops people even trying in the first place.

5. He comes across as a bit awkward, but he’s just shy and he has a very warm heart.