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An amount of money paid each hour to compensate an employee for the amount of time he/she spends working. Wages are paid for both skilled and unskilled labor. For example, one may pay an employee $8 per hour for working at a fast food restaurant or $45 per hour for highly trained work at a car factory. What distinguishes wages from salaries is the fact that wages are only paid for the hours worked; an employee is paid more if he works for more hours. Salaries, on the other hand, are the same whether one works five hours or 50. See also: Overtime, Minimum Wage.


the money payment made to a worker, usually on a weekly basis, for the use of his or her labour. A worker's basic wage will depend on the hourly WAGE RATE and the number of hours worked. The latter is usually related to the number of hours specified as constituting the ‘basic'working week, but in some cases workers may be given a GUARANTEED BASIC WAGE to protect them against loss of earnings due to short-time working, and in other cases workers may be able to add to their basic wage by OVERTIME earnings. In addition to PAYMENT BY TIME, workers may be paid in proportion to their output under a PAYMENT BY RESULTS scheme. See PAY, MEASURED DAY WORK.


the PAY made to an employee for the use of his or her LABOUR as a FACTOR OF PRODUCTION. Wages are usually paid on a weekly basis, and they depend on the hourly WAGE RATE and the number of hours that constitute the basic working week. In addition, employees can add to their basic wage by working OVERTIME.

As an alternative to workers being paid on the basis of hours worked (a ‘payment by time’ system), employees may be paid in proportion to their output (a ‘payment by results’ system).

In aggregate terms, wages are a source of income and are included as a part of NATIONAL INCOME. See SALARY, NATIONAL INCOME ACCOUNTS.

References in periodicals archive ?
The bonus and minimum wage levels will be applicable to Hawaii-based employees, as well as employees in American Samoa, Guam, Saipan and Palau, the bank said.
He added: "We must not forget that it is the market that sets the wage levels.
The Hong Kong government announced Thursday it would maintain the current minimum wage level for foreign domestic helpers at HK$3,670 (about $470) a month for this year following an annual review on the issue.
It sometimes can be more profitable for employers to train workers up to their new wage level than to look for new workers.
The higher minimum wage automatically increases the country's social security deficit because most benefits are indexed to the minimum wage level.
Wage levels in an industry are largely driven by the average wage level of all workers in an economy against whom the industry's workers compete.
Estimates from wage level regressions among workers with low measured skills are likely to be biased upward owing to positive selection on ability.
Each wage category (level) represents a $2 increment--that is, wage level 1 represents a wage of $1.
Participants will be youth with physical and/or mental disabilities for whom competitive employment at or above the minimum wage level is not immediately obtainable and who, because of their disability, will need intensive ongoing support to perform in a work setting.
As a result, much of the variation in the included minimum wage variable (typically the minimum wage level, multiplied by coverage, divided by an average wage) arose from variation in average wage levels across states, leading critics to argue that the estimated wage effects largely reflected state "average wage" effects rather than minimum wage differences (Brown et al.
The conclusions from the field data are that women consider their employment more important when the wage level and security are high; an increase in subcontracting leads to a greater number of women being employed in more casual forms of labour relations with less job security and lower incomes; women's employment is affected by mechanisation.