• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

The minimum wage refers to the lowest wage an employer can legally pay an employee. It is intended to protect the most vulnerable employees from excessive wage exploitation by establishing a wage higher than what the market would otherwise establish. The minimum wage arguably represents the amount of income needed by a full-time employee to maintain a minimally acceptable standard of living.

Some nations establish minimum wage laws for an entire country (Cuba, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States), while others do so regionally (Canada) or based on industry collective bargaining agreements (Germany, Italy, Sweden). Many countries, including China and India, do not have a minimum wage law. In these nations, the lowest wage is a function of either the laws of supply and demand ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles