Can a new employer find out about previous salary?

Forum Forums Forum for Indian people living in the uk Can a new employer find out about previous salary?

This topic contains 27 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  sammy 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)
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  • #821

    bill
    Participant

    I’m considering my options workwise and one options is to move companies. However, as I am on £x at the company I currently work. I told the new company a different figure in regards to my current salary. Actually, I told them I was earning 14k more than what my real salary really is (this additional 14k is the market rate for my position).

    I am now worried. As part of the references can the new company ask my current HR department or perhaps calculate it on my P45. I am worried now, because I want the new position and was after a big boost in salary, which reflects my position. And I did not want them to just lower the offer based on my current salary.

    Are salaries disclosed as part of the standard references?

    #822

    mo
    Participant

    Yes it is one of the bits of info in a standard reference but if you got overtime, bonus, car etc you could say you were adding those in if questioned.

    #823

    nomad
    Participant

    It will be blindingly obvious on your P45. They will see it, for sure, but it shouldn’t matter, most employers will just ignore it and they are used to it because everybody lies. As long as you do your job well and you are worth the money then shouldn’t be a problem.

    #824

    adam
    Participant

    I’d have thought it was confidential, though I know nothing of these things. I’d be pissed if someone gave away my salary to anyone, its my business and no one elses. The new position should not be based on previous salary (unless following a rigid pay scale eg public sector teachers etc but band then also denotes experience) but on the skills etc you bring. Salary is a negotiation point, them knowing your salary then makes the negotiation biased.

    #825

    cornershop
    Participant

    The P45 will be a clue. But I was an HR/Employment law advisor. I certainly never ever looked at someone’s P45 it always ended up with payroll. So I’d breath a little bit easy on that. It would need to be a chance encounter between someone from the management team, discussing the vastly inflated salary they had to offer you, with someone from the payroll team, who just happens to remember that the figures from your P45 don’t quite reflect the amount on the reference they’ve not seen as these are normally kept by HR.

    Will the reference reflect your salary? Tombstone references are almost the norm these days. Name, Employer, position start date & end date. An employer is free to disclose salary if asked – they normally wouldn’t bother if they were’nt asked, but there’s new & stricter Data Protection legislation coming out in May which many organisations are preparing for and I’d guess many employers have already got cautious about disclosing information like that now without the permission of the data subject (you!).

    Just Relax and keep your fingers crossed – good luck.

    #826

    jo
    Participant

    This bears an uncanny relation to a Q asked on moneysaving expert 7 years ago:

    “However, as I am on low paid salary at the company I currently work, I told them a different figure in regards to my current salary. Actually, I told them I was earning 14k more than what my real salary really is (this additional 14k is the market rate for my position).

    I am now worried and realise I was stupid. I reckon they can ask my HR department or perhaps calculate it on my P45. I am so worried now, because I really wanted that position and was after a big boost in salary, which reflects my position. And I did not want them to just lower the offer based on my current salary.”

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=2735585

    #827

    holycow
    Participant

    As part of the references can the new company ask my current HR department

    Without your explicit permission, your current HR department would be breaking the Data Protection Act 1998 if they told the new company your salary present salary – or indeed anything about you. If you put your current employer down as a reference then you may have given them such permission?

    or perhaps calculate it on my P45.

    Whoopsie. Let’s hope that submitting false information in your application isn’t grounds for instant dismissal. It is where I work. Wouldn’t want that hanging over me. Between that and plagiarising someone else’s question without reference (that’s a new one on me) some people might start to form a view.

    #828

    Aarav
    Participant

    The P45 will be a clue. But I was an HR/Employment law advisor. I certainly never ever looked at someone’s P45 it always ended up with payroll.

    That assumes he is joining a large company so it might not be so cut and dried.

    If you end up being challenged about it just say that regardless of previous salary this is what you are worth and one of your reasons for leaving is being undervalued by your current employer.

    #829

    paki
    Participant

    They won’t do anything. If they want you on the rate they offered then that’s that.

    I’ve decided ithat asking people’s salary is a pointless interview question. Anyone currently employed would want an incentive to move. I now tell them what I’ve budgeted for the role and ask if that suits them. This is because when the tables are turned I prefer to be employed at a rate offered that meets or exceeds my expectation without first disclosing the expectation.

    #830

    eee
    Participant

    Well done for being bold enough to get the salary you deserve if that is the market rate.

    do not be concerned about it. Clearly your new employers consider you are worth it.

    #831

    abdul
    Participant

    Without your explicit permission, your current HR department would be breaking the Data Protection Act 1998 if they told the new company your salary present salary – or indeed anything about you. If you put your current employer down as a reference then you may have given them such permission?

    @hoylcow I don’t think that’s the case. Employers have to give fair and accurate references. I see no way in which giving a person’s leaving salary could be described as unfair or inaccurate.

    http://m.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5072

    #832

    abdul
    Participant

    People are perfectly entitled to ask for a higher salary from a new employer and the new employer will pay you what they think you are worth. No need to lie about previous salary just be honest (ish) about what you think you are worth.

    #833

    holycow
    Participant

    I don’t think that’s the case. Employers have to give fair and accurate references. I see no way in which giving a person’s leaving salary could be described as unfair or inaccurate.

    @abdul As I said before, there needs to be permission from the employee otherwise it’s a potential violation of the data protection act.

    My understanding is that if I receive a reference request for person A from company B, that I should only answer it with permission from person A. As I said in my previous post, this person may have given permission to their current employer. Just imagine; I write to your employer asking for a reference for you – but I’m doing this to find out information about you for my own interest not as part of a job offer. Congratulations, your employer just released data about you to a malicious third party and without your permission.

    Any business disclosing an employee’s salary and other information without directly seeking their permission needs to check their procedures before May 26 when we switch from the DPA to the GDPR… My understanding is that the person’s status as an employee may even qualify as protected data under GDPR.

    Employers have to give fair and accurate references.

    The first sentence of your link says they *do not have to give a reference*. There is nothing in there with regards the data protection aspect. Your reference is regarding the seperate fact that any reference if made must be factually correct. More I suspect to do with libel etc. There is also nothing about an employer being *compelled* to put any particular thing in there, only that what is their must be accurate.

    #834

    abdul
    Participant

    My understanding is that the person’s status as an employee may even qualify as protected data under GDPR.

    @abdul The term “protected data” has no meaning in the context of GDPR*. The term used is “personal data,” which is: “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person”. So yes, your salary is personal data and your employer is legally obliged to protect it appropriately in order to avoid infringing any of your rights or freedoms (which would include the right to privacy under the ECHR). Anything the employer does with your personal data has to be covered by a “lawful basis of processing” – which in most cases will be one of: consent from the data subject; in order to fulfil a contract with the data subject; or because the data controller is legally obliged to process it (eg your employer has to know your NI number in order to fulfil their legal obligation to process your PAYE).

    As you say, there is no legal obligation to provide salary information in a reference. The lawful basis for processing in the case of a reference is almost certain to be consent (which must be freely and explicitly given, and recorded) and it should be clear when such consent is sought or given what categories of personal data the consent covers, and what use it will be put to. If the employee says: “don’t tell prospective new employers my salary” then the employer would almost certainly be breaking the law if they proceeded to do so.

    A diligent employer would state up front eg in their employee handbook what information they would provide in a reference, would collect and record the employee’s consent, and inform the employee that they have the legal right to challenge any part (or all) of it if they objected.

    * You might have been thinking of the term “sensitive personal data” which does exist in the DPA. That is replaced in GDPR by the term “special category data”. They are effectively the same in that the list basically consists of information about the data subject which could result in them being discriminated against illegally, per the Equality Act 2000. The word “sensitive” frequently caused confusion: many people would be extremely surprised to be told that their salary, bank account details and so forth are not regarded as “sensitive” information under the law. GDPR makes the situation clearer: all personal data is ‘sensitive’, but in differing degrees according to the impact that misuse/misappropriation of it might have on the rights and freedoms of the data subject. That’s what data controllers have to keep firmly in mind when processing personal data – and if they get it wrong then any regulatory penalties will take in to account the risk to the data subject’s rights and freedoms that the personal data represented.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by  abdul.
    #837

    andypandy
    Participant

    It is generally accepted in the world of HR & employment legislation that when an employee gives his/her employer’s address to another business as a reference, he/she has in effect given their employer permission to disclose personal data and so far as I’m aware there is no current case law to require further explicit information. This may change under the new GDPR legislation.

    As a couple of other posters have stated, there’s no legal requirement to give a reference. In general though it is accepted that they must be honest and factually correct, although this is, as one person said because failure to do so may result in libel action against the reference giver. That however, has only ever happened once to my knowledge and that was limited to a case involving two businesses were both in the financial services industry and both legally obliged to give references under FSA legislation.

    In practice you’d never manage to sue either parties, because of several difficulties you’d find it almost impossible to overcome and any compo would be outweighed by the cost of recovery.

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