Wage

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A wage is monetary compensation (or remuneration, personnel expenses, labor) paid by an employer to an employee in exchange for work done. Payment may be calculated as a fixed amount for each task completed (a task wage or piece rate), or at an hourly or daily rate (wage labour), or based on an easily measured quantity of work done.

Contents

Wages are part of the expenses that are involved in running a business.

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 (the latter quantity is termed labor power by Marx and subsequent economists). 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]

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), 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. [6] [ 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. [7] Similarly, white men made about 84% the wage of Asian men, and black men 64%. [8] 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. [9] 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. [10]

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. [11]

See also

Political science:

Related Research Articles

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Minimum wage lowest wage which can be paid legally in a state for working

A minimum wage is the lowest remuneration that employers can legally pay their workers—the price floor below which workers may not sell their labor. Most countries had introduced minimum wage legislation by the end of the 20th century.

Employment is a relationship between two parties, usually based on a contract where work is paid for, where one party, which may be a corporation, for profit, not-for-profit organization, co-operative or other entity is the employer and the other is the employee. Employees work in return for payment, which may be in the form of an hourly wage, by piecework or an annual salary, depending on the type of work an employee does or which sector they are working in. Employees in some fields or sectors may receive gratuities, bonus payment or stock options. In some types of employment, employees may receive benefits in addition to payment. Benefits can include health insurance, housing, disability insurance or use of a gym. 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 necessary to meet 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 remuneration paid by an employer to an employee

A salary is a form of 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 on payroll accounts.

Labour power key concept used by Karl Marx in his critique of capitalist political economy

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Wage regulation refers to attempts by a government to regulate wages paid to citizens.

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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.

Minimum wage law is the body of law which prohibits employers from hiring employees or workers for less than a given hourly, daily or monthly minimum wage. More than 90% of all countries have some kind of minimum wage legislation.

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Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 United States wage law

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Wages and salaries are the remuneration paid or payable to employees for work performed on behalf of an employer or services provided. Normally, an employer is not permitted to withhold the wages or any part thereof, except as permitted or required by law. Employers are required by law to deduct from wages, commonly termed "withhold", income taxes, social contributions and for other purposes, which are then paid directly to tax authorities, social security authority, etc., on behalf of the employee. Garnishment is a court ordered withholding from wages to pay a debt.

Compensation and benefits (C&B) is a sub-discipline of human resources, focused on employee compensation and benefits policy-making. While compensation and benefits are tangible, there are intangible rewards such as recognition, work-life and development. Combined, these are referred to as total rewards. The term "compensation and benefits" refers to the discipline as well as the rewards themselves.

The Labor policy in the Philippines is specified mainly by the country's Labor Code of the Philippines and through other labor laws. They cover 38 million Filipinos who belong to the labor force and to some extent, as well as overseas workers. They aim to address Filipino workers’ legal rights and their limitations with regard to the hiring process, working conditions, benefits, policymaking on labor within the company, activities, and relations with employees.

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.

The tipped wage is base wage paid to an employee that receives a substantial portion of their compensation from tips. According to a common labor law provision referred to as a "tip credit", the employee must earn at least the state’s minimum wage when tips and wages are combined or the employer is required to increase the wage to fulfill that threshold. This ensures that all tipped employees earn at least the minimum wage: significantly more than the tipped minimum wage.

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. "Student Login". Edgenuity. – Education 2020 Homeschool console, Vocabulary Assignment, definition entry for "wage rate" (may require login to view)
  7. 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.
  8. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Earnings of Women and Men by Race and Ethnicity, 2007" Accessed June 29, 2012
  9. "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
  10. Tennant, Michael. "Minimum Wage The Ups & Downs." New American (08856540) 30.12 (2014): 10-16. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.
  11. USC 26 § 3401(a)

Further reading