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Wage means payment for units of time or units of product as valued under a wage rate agreement. Today's most common unit is the hour. Many governments impose minimum wage rates upon employers to protect society. (e.g. Michigan's current minimum wage rate is: $890 per hour) However, many employers offer employees significantly higher wage rates. (e.g. Michigan's current median hourly rate for a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) is $1240 per hour)
Wages means remuneration ([L. remuneratio: cf. F. rémunération.] "Act or fact of remunerating"; "to give, present" an "advantage", "gift" or "reward" ) for services (or the quality thereof). In addition to receiving a wage, employees are often "put upon wages" to provide an employment advantage. These advantages may include such things as health and life insurance, paid vacation time, gifts for years of service, bonuses for high production rates and other employer provided benefits.
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.
"Wage labour involves the exchange of money for time spent at work (the latter quantity is termed "labor power by "Karl Marx and subsequent economists). As Moses I. Finley lays out the issue in "The Ancient Economy:
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.
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.
In a global market, the average wage for Americans in unskilled labor jobs tends to be low. While unemployment rates can be low, the global economy really caters to those who have the money and resources to access its vast potential. Looking at the Stock Market as a prime example, Lester Thurow points out that there was a real swing in levels of earning, where the top 10-20% of the country in terms of wealth absolutely thrived. However, at the same time, this created a massive gap between what is successful and what is not. Furthering the problem, with the introduction of the Euro, now comes the war against its counterpart in the dollar. A drop in the dollar would signal an increase in inflation. The Euro gives companies and investors a truly viable option if they do not want to invest in dollars, further perpetuating the idea of a global market and economy. A lower price of the dollar and inflation could lead to lower real wages in America.
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. Similarly, white men made about 84% the wage of Asian men, and black men 64%. These are overall averages and are not adjusted for the type, amount, and quality of work done.
Seventy-five million workers earned hourly wages in the United States in 2012, making up 59% of employees. 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.
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