That there is no breach of the Privacy Act in the leakage of ABC payroll data highlights the intricacies and inconsistencies of the Act

November 20, 2013 |

Today there will be no shortage of red faced ABC executives not to mention highly paid presenters of radio and television.  The Australian has published a longish list of the highly paid staff of the ABC on its front and second pages.  It is found here, behind the paywall.

It is a quirk, a deliberate one, that an employees’ salary package is not personal information protected by the Privacy Act.  Employee records are specifically exempt from the operations of the Privacy Act (section 7B(3).

And an Employee record is defined as:

employee record, in relation to an employee, means a record of personal information relating to the employment of the employee. Examples of personal information relating to the employment of the employee are health information about the employee and personal information about all or any of the following:

                     (a)  the engagement, training, disciplining or resignation of the employee;

(b)  the termination of the employment of the employee;

                     (c)  the terms and conditions of employment of the employee;

                     (d)  the employee’s personal and emergency contact details;

                     (e)  the employee’s performance or conduct;

                      (f)  the employee’s hours of employment;

                     (g)  the employee’s salary or wages;

                     (h)  the employee’s membership of a professional or trade association;

                      (i)  the employee’s trade union membership;

                      (j)  the employee’s recreation, long service, sick, personal, maternity, paternity or other leave;

                     (k)  the employee’s taxation, banking or superannuation affairs.

(Emphasis added)

So clearly the details are highly confidential and held by the ABC, a body clearly bound by the Privacy Act.  But the Act does not apply to those records.  It makes little logical sense.





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