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Wage facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

A wage is money that is paid by an employer to an employee in exchange for work. The amount may be fixed for each task completed (this is called piece rate); or it may be based on time or other measurable quantity of work done.

Work for wages is the most common form of work. Because of this, the term "wage" sometimes refers to all forms of employee payment. However, a wage is different to a salary or commission. A salary is where the employer pays an arranged amount at regular intervals (such as a week or month) regardless of hours worked or amount of work done. Commission is usually an extra payment based on the performance of the worker or product. Waged employees may also receive "tips" paid directly by clients. They will usually not get the same benefits as those paid with a salary, such as annual leave and sick leave.

Wages are usually paid by the hour. This is called an hourly wage. Wages paid by the day are still common. Wage rates may be influenced by market forces (supply and demand), laws, 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 many countries, laws set a minimum wage that all employers must pay their workers. This means that employers cannot pay workers a lower rate than the minimum wage; however, they can pay them a higher rate. The minimum wage rate is there to protect the working class.

Wages were paid in the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome.

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