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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 ?
If instead hourly wages within each occupation were held fixed, the average wage would have increased 2.
Residential construction occupations had a larger employment decline and lower hourly wage growth than did nonresidential construction occupations.
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From October the hourly wage for apprentices will be pounds 2.
The key independent variable of interest in this study is physicians' hourly wage.
And the ones that got away had a higher average hourly wage, $16.
The average hourly wage in the low/lower-middle-income nations is one-twentieth of that in the upper-middle/high-income group.
Yet none of the legislation or executive orders drafted by unions makes any mention of the actual hourly wage or even the fact that the compensation is dismally low.
The median hourly wage in 2004 for all retail salespersons, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $9.
Yet, a federal wage rate increase could make other states, which will continue to try to lure California manufacturers and other large employers of hourly wage workers, look less attractive.
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State work-study awards subsidize 80% of the student's hourly wage, while federal work-study awards subsidize 75% of the student's hourly wage.