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Minimum Wage History and the Various Mechanism of Resolving It

Minimum Wage History and the Various Mechanism of Resolving It

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Published by Abimbola Babatunde
A review of minimum wage history
A review of minimum wage history

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Published by: Abimbola Babatunde on Mar 02, 2012
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 MINIMUM WAGE HISTORY AND THEVARIOUS MECHANISM OF RESOLVING IT:1900-TILL DATE.BYABIMBOLA BABATUNDEND, B.A (Hons), M.SC
Mobile: +2347033584015Email:tundeabimbola@gmail.com
November, 2011.
 
 
INTRODUCTION:
The history of minimum wage is about the attempts and measures governmentshave made to introduce a standard amount of periodic pay below whichemployers could not let their workers fall. It has become a labour issue that hasbeen generating controversies in recent time. The agitation for a fixture of acertain amount that even the least worker should earn in every organisation haslead into many labour activities such as strike, boycotts even demonstration inNigeria and some other countries. The fact cannot be denied that minimum wagehas its criticisms.
 
Many economists, since it establishes a price floor on wages.Price floors can lead to a dead weight loss in the economy, which means thatinefficiencies exist. In this case, the minimum wage might force companies to hirefewer employees, thus increasing unemployment.However, this paper shall attempt to see what minimum wage is all about interms of its definition but its history and the various mechanism of resolving itfrom 1900 to date shall be the main focus.
WHAT IS MINIMUM WAGE?
Minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage allowed by federal and state labourlaws.It generally applies to unskilled or semi-skilled laborers working in serviceindustries or manufacturing plants. Certain occupations such as agriculturalworkers are usually exempt from minimum wage requirements, as are certainservice workers who receive tips or other compensation equal to the minimumwage.It is the minimum amount of compensation an employee must receive for
 
performing labor. Minimum wages are typically established by contract orlegislation by the government. As such, it is illegal to pay an employee less thanthe minimum wage.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:
On the international scene, minimum wage legislation first appeared in NewZealand in 1894 and in the Australian state of Victoria in 1896 after significant"anti-sweating" campaigns. It was subsequently introduced in Great Britain in1909, and in a number of continental European countries a few years thereafter.
The starting Point 
:
The year 1900 saw the beginning of the Fair Wages Policy. InMarch of that year a resolution was passed by the House of Commons which weredirected against abuses arising from the sub-letting of Government Contracts. Itdeclared it to be the policy of the Government that wages generally accepted ascurrent in each trade for competent workmen in the district where the work iscarried out should be paid on all public works undertaken by the Governmentitself or aided by Government funds. The Federal Government's actions in 1900helped to gain wide acceptance of the fair wage principle.
 
In 1907 Ernest Aves was sent by the British Secretary of State for the HomeDepartment to investigate the results of the minimum wage laws in Australia andNew Zealand. In part as a result of his report,Winston Churchill,then president of the Board of Trade, introduced the Trade Boards Act on March 24, 1909. Itbecame law in October of that year, and went into effect in January 1910.In North America, the state of Massachusetts was the first jurisdiction to institutea minimum wage, in 1912. However, the Massachusetts legislation, which onlyapplied to women and minors working in certain industries, contained numerousexceptions and lacked an effective enforcement mechanism, relying solely onpublic opinion to pressure employers into compliance. Several other Americanstates followed suit, although the history of the minimum wage legislation in the

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