Definition Definition

Wage Labour

Wage Labour is a form of work in which employees perform labour for their employers under strict direction in exchange for wages or salaries. The employer owns and controls the production of the labour and so, the employer takes full credit for the work done.

“Wage” is the payment compensation workers or employees receive in exchange for their time and toil which is usually on an hourly, daily, monthly or each work basis as per prior contract. “Labour” is practical work involving hard physical efforts.

“Wage labour,” as a result, signifies the labour in exchange for what the workers get a wage. There are five major types of wage labours and they are - 

  1. Minimum, 
  2. Living, 
  3. Prevailing, 
  4. Tipped and 
  5. Fair wage labour.


The most common type of wage labour nowadays is full-time employment where the employees work 8-9 hours a day on an agreed-upon monthly salary. People selling their labour for a set wage are called “wage labourers.”

It is often compared to slavery and hence, the term “wage slavery” was born. This portrays a common picture where the employers get the opportunity to exploit their employees by overworking or underpaying them, or providing them with a below per work environment.


Use of the Term in Sentences:

  • Wage labour is considered to be applicable to only unskilled or semi-skilled labourers who trade manual labour.         
  • In underdeveloped countries, low wage labour is an everyday phenomenon.


Category: Economics
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