Historical Development of Minimum Wage Laws
Minimum wage laws have been around for centuries. Its basic stipulation: raise wages of workers so they can live within acceptable standards of living. What’s deemed “acceptable” varies greatly across (and within) societies. Some of the earliest examples of minimum wage laws tied salaries to the cost of food – a core consideration for any good job.
Minimum Wage and Employment
The effects of minimum wage legislation on the economy have been studied thoroughly, and usually focus on three different questions: How does minimum wage law affect overall employment, wages, and prices? Conclusions tend to fluctuate, from study to study. Recent reports suggest the relationship between minimum wages and employment is very weak.
Gender and Racial Demographics of Minimum Wage Earners
Minimum wages are used to regulate labour market outcomes, tackling structural and cultural concerns like income inequality and poverty. Identifying those workers who rely on minimum wage often highlights deeper (and systemic) gender, age and racial inequities within the labour market. A recent Ontario study illustrates that women, racialized workers and young workers are more likely to be earning minimum wages than other groups.
Check out: Who Is Working for Minimum Wage in Ontario? By Sheila Block