chapter  5
20 Pages

Wages and low pay: Janet Druker

ByJANET DRUKER

There is a historic division between waged workers (with wages typically calculated on the basis of an hourly rate and paid weekly or fortnightly) and those receiving salaries (calculated on a monthly or annual basis). This distinction in the form of wages is more fully reflected in the reward package and in the job control of waged and salaried employees. The traditional differences between them are being eroded and the contrast in conditions of work between waged and salaried employees, including the additions to basic pay, is now less significant than in the past. The expansion of employment in the service sector has reinforced the ranks of waged workers in areas such as retail and hospitality and in employment agencies. New forms of incentive payment are developed in these work situations to meet different business needs. The National Minimum Wage (NMW) was introduced from April 1999 and has risen more rapidly than average earnings since that date with an increasing number of workers covered by its provision. Its impact is greatest in female-intensive sectors. However there is little evidence so far that the NMW has reduced the gap between the highest and the lowest earners.