Wage

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A wage is payment made by an employer to an employee for work done in a specific period of time. Some examples of wage payments include compensatory payments such as minimum wage , prevailing wage , and yearly bonuses, and remunerative payments such as prizes and tip payouts.

Contents

Wages are part of the expenses that are involved in running a business. It is an obligation to the employee regardless of the profitability of the company.

Payment by wage contrasts with salaried work, in which the employer pays an arranged amount at steady intervals (such as a week or month) regardless of hours worked, with commission which conditions pay on individual performance, and with compensation based on the performance of the company as a whole. Waged employees may also receive tips or gratuity paid directly by clients and employee benefits which are non-monetary forms of compensation. Since wage labour is the predominant form of work, the term "wage" sometimes refers to all forms (or all monetary forms) of employee compensation.

Origins and necessary components

Wage labour involves the exchange of money for time spent at work. As Moses I. Finley lays out the issue in The Ancient Economy :

The very idea of wage-labour requires two difficult conceptual steps. First it requires the abstraction of a man's labour from both his person and the product of his work. When one purchases an object from an independent craftsman ... one has not bought his labour but the object, which he had produced in his own time and under his own conditions of work. But when one hires labour, one purchases an abstraction, labour-power, which the purchaser then uses at a time and under conditions which he, the purchaser, not the "owner" of the labour-power, determines (and for which he normally pays after he has consumed it). Second, the wage labour system requires the establishment of a method of measuring the labour one has purchased, for purposes of payment, commonly by introducing a second abstraction, namely labour-time. [1]

The wage is the monetary measure corresponding to the standard units of working time (or to a standard amount of accomplished work, defined as a piece rate). The earliest such unit of time, still frequently used, is the day of work. The invention of clocks coincided with the elaborating of subdivisions of time for work, of which the hour became the most common, underlying the concept of an hourly wage. [2] [3]

Wages were paid in the Middle Kingdom of ancient Egypt, [4] ancient Greece, [5] and ancient Rome. [5] Following the unification of the city-states in Assyria and Sumer by Sargon of Akkad into a single empire ruled from his home city circa 2334 BC, common Mesopotamian standards for length, area, volume, weight, and time used by artisan guilds were promulgated by Naram-Sin of Akkad (c. 2254–2218 BC), Sargon's grandson, including shekels. [6] Codex Hammurabi Law 234 (c. 1755–1750 BC) stipulated a 2-shekel prevailing wage for each 60-gur (300-bushel) vessel constructed in an employment contract between a shipbuilder and a ship-owner. [7] [8] [9] Law 275 stipulated a ferry rate of 3-gerah per day on a charterparty between a ship charterer and a shipmaster. Law 276 stipulated a 212-gerah per day freight rate on a contract of affreightment between a charterer and shipmaster, while Law 277 stipulated a 16-shekel per day freight rate for a 60-gur vessel. [10] [11] [9]

Determinants of wage rates

Depending on the structure and traditions of different economies around the world, wage rates will be influenced by market forces (supply and demand), labour organisation, legislation, and tradition. Market forces are perhaps more dominant in the United States, while tradition, social structure and seniority, perhaps play a greater role in Japan. [12] [ citation needed ]

Wage differences

Even in countries where market forces primarily set wage rates, studies show that there are still differences in remuneration for work based on sex and race. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007 women of all races made approximately 80% of the median wage of their male counterparts. This is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations. [13] Similarly, white men made about 84% the wage of Asian men, and black men 64%. [14] These are overall averages and are not adjusted for the type, amount, and quality of work done.

Wages in the United States

Historical graph of real wages in the US from 1964 to 2005. US Real Wages 1964-2004.gif
Historical graph of real wages in the US from 1964 to 2005.

Seventy-five million workers earned hourly wages in the United States in 2012, making up 59% of employees. [15] In the United States, wages for most workers are set by market forces, or else by collective bargaining, where a labor union negotiates on the workers' behalf. The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes a minimum wage at the federal level that all states must abide by, among other provisions. Fourteen states and a number of cities have set their own minimum wage rates that are higher than the federal level. For certain federal or state government contacts, employers must pay the so-called prevailing wage as determined according to the Davis-Bacon Act or its state equivalent. Activists have undertaken to promote the idea of a living wage rate which account for living expenses and other basic necessities, setting the living wage rate much higher than current minimum wage laws require. The minimum wage rate is there to protect the well being of the working class. [16]

Definitions

For purposes of federal income tax withholding, 26 U.S.C. § 3401(a) defines the term "wages" specifically for chapter 24 of the Internal Revenue Code:

"For purposes of this chapter, the term “wages” means all remuneration (other than fees paid to a public official) for services performed by an employee for his employer, including the cash value of all remuneration (including benefits) paid in any medium other than cash;" In addition to requiring that the remuneration must be for "services performed by an employee for his employer," the definition goes on to list 23 exclusions that must also be applied. [17]

See also

Political science:

Related Research Articles

Labour laws are those that mediate the relationship between workers, employing entities, trade unions and the government. Collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer and union. Individual labour law concerns employees' rights at work also through the contract for work. Employment standards are social norms for the minimum socially acceptable conditions under which employees or contractors are allowed to work. Government agencies enforce labour law.

Employment is a relationship between two parties regulating the provision of paid labour services. Usually based on a contract, one party, the employer, which might be a corporation, a not-for-profit organization, a co-operative, or any other entity, pays the other, the employee, in return for carrying out assigned work. Employees work in return for wages, which can be paid on the basis of an hourly rate, by piecework or an annual salary, depending on the type of work an employee does, the prevailing conditions of the sector and the bargaining power between the parties. Employees in some sectors may receive gratuities, bonus payments or stock options. In some types of employment, employees may receive benefits in addition to payment. Benefits may include health insurance, housing, disability insurance. Employment is typically governed by employment laws, organisation or legal contracts.

Overtime is the amount of time someone works beyond normal working hours. The term is also used for the pay received for this time. Normal hours may be determined in several ways:

Living wage Minimum income to meet a workers basic needs

A living wage is defined as the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs. This is not the same as a subsistence wage, which refers to a biological minimum. Needs are defined to include food, housing, and other essential needs such as clothing. The goal of a living wage is to allow a worker to afford a basic but decent standard of living through employment without government subsidies. Due to the flexible nature of the term "needs", there is not one universally accepted measure of what a living wage is and as such it varies by location and household type. A related concept is that of a family wage – one sufficient to not only support oneself, but also to raise a family.

Salary Form of periodic payment from an employer to an employee

A salary is a form of periodic payment from an employer to an employee, which may be specified in an employment contract. It is contrasted with piece wages, where each job, hour or other unit is paid separately, rather than on a periodic basis. From the point of view of running a business, salary can also be viewed as the cost of acquiring and retaining human resources for running operations, and is then termed personnel expense or salary expense. In accounting, salaries are recorded in payroll accounts.

An employment contract or contract of employment is a kind of contract used in labour law to attribute rights and responsibilities between parties to a bargain. The contract is between an "employee" and an "employer". It has arisen out of the old master-servant law, used before the 20th century. Employment contracts relies on the concept of authority, in which the employee agrees to accept the authority of the employer and in exchange, the employer agrees to pay the employee a stated wage.

National Minimum Wage Act 1998 United Kingdom legislation

The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 creates a minimum wage across the United Kingdom. From 1 April 2021 this was £8.91 for people age 23 and over, £8.36 for 21- to 22-year-olds, £6.56 for 18- to 20-year-olds, £4.62 for people under 18 and £4.30 for apprentices.

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Compensation of employees (CE) is a statistical term used in national accounts, balance of payments statistics and sometimes in corporate accounts as well. It refers basically to the total gross (pre-tax) wages paid by employers to employees for work done in an accounting period, such as a quarter or a year.

A severance package is pay and benefits that employees may be entitled to receive when they leave employment at a company unwillfully. In addition to their remaining regular pay, it may include some of the following:

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Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 United States wage law

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California Labor Code Collection of Californian civil law statutes

The California Labor Code, more formally known as "the Labor Code", is a collection of civil law statutes for the State of California. The code is made up of statutes which govern the general obligations and rights of persons within the jurisdiction of the State of California. The stated goal of the Department of Industrial Relations is to promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners of California, to improve their working conditions and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment."

Indian labour law

Indian labour law refers to law regulating labour in India. Traditionally, Indian government at the federal and state levels have sought to ensure a high degree of protection for workers, but in practice, this differs due to form of government and because labour is a subject in the concurrent list of the Indian Constitution. The Minimum Wages Act 1948 requires companies to pay the minimum wage set by the government alongside limiting working weeks to 40 hours. Overtime is strongly discouraged with the premium on overtime being 100% of the total wage. The Payment of Wages Act 1936 mandates the payment of wages on time on the last working day of every month. The Factories Act 1948 and the Shops and Establishment Act 1960 mandates 15 working days of fully paid vacation leaves each year to each employee with an addition 10 fully paid sick days. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 gives female employees of every company the right to take 6 months worth of fully paid maternity leave. It also provides for 6 weeks worth of paid leaves in case of miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy. The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation and the Employees' State Insurance, governed by statutory acts provides for retirement benefits and medical and unemployment benefits respectively. Workers entitled to be covered under the Employees' State Insurance are also entitled 90 days worth of paid medical leaves. A contract of employment can always provide for more rights than the statutory minimum set rights. The Indian parliament passed four labour codes in 2019 and 2020 sessions. These four codes will consolidate 44 existing labour laws. They are: The Industrial Relations Code 2020, The Code on Social Security 2020, The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 and The Code on Wages 2019.

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Wage theft is the denial of wages or employee benefits rightfully owed to an employee. It can be conducted by employers in various ways, among them failing to pay overtime; violating minimum-wage laws; the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, illegal deductions in pay; forcing employees to work "off the clock", not paying annual leave or holiday entitlements, or simply not paying an employee at all.

Minimum Wages Act 1948 Article

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References

  1. Finley, Moses I. (1973). The ancient economy. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 65. ISBN   9780520024366.
  2. Thompson, E. P. (1967). "Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism". Past and Present. 38 (38): 56–97. doi:10.1093/past/38.1.56. JSTOR   649749.
  3. Dohrn-van Rossum, Gerhard (1996). History of the hour: Clocks and modern temporal orders. Thomas Dunlap (trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN   9780226155104.
  4. Ezzamel, Mahmoud (July 2004). "Work Organization in the Middle Kingdom, Ancient Egypt". Organization. 11 (4): 497–537. doi:10.1177/1350508404044060. ISSN   1350-5084.
  5. 1 2 Finley, Moses I. (1973). The ancient economy. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN   9780520024366.
  6. Powell, Marvin A. (1995). "Metrology and Mathematics in Ancient Mesopotamia". In Sasson, Jack M. (ed.). Civilizations of the Ancient Near East . Vol. III. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons. p.  1955. ISBN   0-684-19279-9.
  7. Hammurabi (1903). Translated by Sommer, Otto. "Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon". Records of the Past. Washington, DC: Records of the Past Exploration Society. 2 (3): 85 . Retrieved June 20, 2021. 234. If a shipbuilder builds ... as a present [compensation].
  8. Hammurabi (1904). "Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon" (PDF). Liberty Fund . Translated by Harper, Robert Francis (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p.  83 . Retrieved June 20, 2021. §234. If a boatman build ... silver as his wage.
  9. 1 2 Hammurabi (1910). "Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon". Avalon Project . Translated by King, Leonard William. New Haven, CT: Yale Law School . Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  10. Hammurabi (1903). Translated by Sommer, Otto. "Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon". Records of the Past. Washington, DC: Records of the Past Exploration Society. 2 (3): 88 . Retrieved June 20, 2021. 275. If anyone hires a ... day as rent therefor.
  11. Hammurabi (1904). "Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon" (PDF). Liberty Fund . Translated by Harper, Robert Francis (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p.  95 . Retrieved June 20, 2021. §275. If a man hire ... its hire per day.
  12. "Student Login". Edgenuity. – Education 2020 Homeschool console, Vocabulary Assignment, definition entry for "wage rate" (may require login to view)
  13. Magnusson, Charlotta. "Why Is There A Gender Wage Gap According To Occupational Prestige?." Acta Sociologica (Sage Publications, Ltd.) 53.2 (2010): 99-117. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.
  14. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Earnings of Women and Men by Race and Ethnicity, 2007" Accessed June 29, 2012
  15. "Employees" as a category excludes all those who are self-employed, and this statistics only considers workers over the age of 16. U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013-02-26), Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2012
  16. Tennant, Michael. "Minimum Wage The Ups & Downs." New American (08856540) 30.12 (2014): 10-16. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.
  17. USC 26 § 3401(a)

Further reading