It seems counterintuitive that many people talk about minimum wage and their pay. However, many seem rather uneducated when discussing the topic. Minimum wage has been around for decades, fluctuating at different prices over the years, although has not changed its purpose. The goal is to look at the term minimum wage and be able to see exactly what it entails. Clearly, if one were to separate the term into two words ‘minimum’ and ‘wage,’ it could be easier to gain a better understanding.
For instance, minimum is in relation to “smallest or lowest” or even, “required.” Although seeming like a rather simple concept, this is is only the literal meaning for the word, but becomes awfully complex as we dive into the “real world” definition. Some jobs have quotas to meet whether it is shipping or sales in a certain amount of time, there are things that need to be done. Again that would be considered the bare ‘minimum’ to be exact. Talking about it in a business perspective, the word can have a different meaning. When applying our current economy and money, businesses’ main goal is to make the most profit they can; which in theory is simple, however there are always small factors to take into account. Look around the world, the word ‘minimum’ is all over and used in so many ways clearly demonstrating its importance. It seems as though every place has a different understanding of what it actually means, and even though the definition seems generic, a person’s point of view often reveals a new meaning of the word. However, most of the time it could have a bad connotation for example when talking about workloads, one would get judged for doing the bare ‘minimum’ at work. Continuing, now take the term ‘wage’. Most thrive for this and usually hold this as what motivates the average person so to speak. The technical definition for the term is, “a fixed regular payment, typically paid on a daily or weekly basis, made by an employer to an employee, especially to a manual or unskilled worker.” Another meaning could be wage is looked at as a salary for inexperienced workers. In summary, money is the simplest term to obtain from a word like wage. Take the example of how the word ‘minimum’ has multiple meanings all over the world, it is the same for ‘wage’ as well. It is easier to see now why the debate of these two words separated are an issue, and now the phrase ‘minimum wage’ is even worse.
For years the value of minimum wage has gone up and down like a rollercoaster. The economy cannot decide the exact price range of where it should stay. It seems counterintuitive that taking both definitions and putting them together in finding the “smallest” amount of money “required” to pay these people should not be such a hard task. Again, such simple terms, but to make it even clearer, “Minimum wage is meant for small business.” Not only does the word small show up, but there is too much complication for something that is meant to be small. What this means is the term minimum wage has gone up and gone down throughout history, don’t you think it should be time to actually set up an actual ‘minimum wage’ where there is little to no increase? At minimum, the pay should at least be set to a price where one making minimum wage is required to get paid the right amount for the effort they put into the job they are doing. Having set wages for different degrees of work has been working for years with salaries, therefore it could come of great use if that knowledge was applied to go into minimum wage and work it from the ground up. Clearly, one can understand that having a phrase that means ‘small’ or ‘least’ is the complete opposite of what it means politically. In certain parts of the world there are laws where one can not be paid below a certain amount of money, which we see here in the U.S. However it seems quite odd since wouldn’t this technically be called ‘minimum wage’ since it is the lowest point where it would be illegal for workers to get paid that? Especially when it put into consideration as though the whole meaning of minimum wage was set up as a method of the lowest amount of pay to be offered within a rather simple job. Many questions could be asked from that, however it is just a guideline and for most, if not all times, the wages that workers get paid are way above that price level. The laws state that the actual definition of minimum wage “ as the minimum amount of financial reward that a worker receives for working a specified period of time” meaning as one works a specific time you get paid per time you work. Several take the term and portray it as either the time, performance, job, or company that is being displayed within a particular job. It is truly astonishing that such a phrase, so small and simple, could have such a big impact overtime on society and the economic outlook many have regarding what they feel is the “best” way to pay employees.
Sawchuk, J. (2015, Mar 31). Minimum wage increase creates unemployment.Alberni Valley Times
Adema, J., Giesing, Y., Schönauer, A., & Stitteneder, T. (2018). Minimum wages across countries. DICE Report, 16(4), 55-63.