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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 ?
In total, there were 94,000 jobs across South Wales paying less than the living wage.
7 percent of all hourly paid workers earning minimum wage or less, Texas has a higher share of those workers than the national share, which sits at 3.
OES's estimate of the national average hourly wage in May 2013 is $22.
Arkansas: Supporters hope to gather enough signatures for a ballot proposal in November that would raise the minimum wage by steps to $8.
My starting wage is already $10 - leading to a more stable workforce and customer service I'm proud of.
The accreditation is Barclays public commitment to ensure that all permanent and subcontracted staff, regardless of their role or location, are paid at least the relevant Living Wage.
To assess whether the recent increase in the minimum wage is excessive or not, one must know what it is intended to achieve.
The fact is that poor Americans are not willing to work for depressed wages when state-sponsored welfare is readily available.
California is tied for the nation's sixth-highest state-mandated minimum wage with Massachusetts.
Nonetheless, some lawmakers say that raising the minimum wage would do more harm than good.
The minimum wage has not been raised since 1997, largely because of politics, says Margaret C.
Workers who unionize and demand a living wage in Mexico find their jobs have now moved to China.