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Question of the Month

From the Catherwood Library reference librarians

November 2005

PLEASE NOTE: The Reference Question of the Month is kept current only during the month for which it was written. Archived questions will not be updated, and over time may contain inaccurate information or broken web links. We provide archived questions as a service, since much of the information will remain accurate and of continued interest to the ILR community.

Question: What is the minimum wage in the U.S. and the various States and how does this compare to minimum wage concepts in Europe? How does minimum wage relate to compensation issues and collective bargaining if at all?

Answer: This is a broad question that is best illuminated by the following links. Taken as a whole, a picture emerges that clarifies these issues.

General Overview (Department of Labor)

Minimum Wage (including federal and state laws)

Congressional Research Service (CRS)
The Fair Labor Standards Act: Minimum Wage in the 108th Congress
William G. Whittaker, update 7 February 2005

Congressional Research Service (CRS)
Historical Relationship Between the Minimum Wage and Poverty,1959 to 2005
Tom Gabe, 5 July 2005

Related data sources: (U.S. equivalent of "average gross wage" data)
Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC) or in html measures the average cost per employee hour worked that employers pay for wages and salaries and benefits.
See also historical information from 1986-1999 and more under Compensation Cost Trends.

For Contract Escalation, the Employment Cost Index (ECI) is increasingly being used by business organizations as an escalator to adjust long-term sales and purchasing contracts, and to adjust wage rates in collective bargaining agreements. A fact sheet explaining how to use the ECI for escalating contracts is available.

Related issue: LIVING WAGE

Employment Policy Foundation
Living Wage Research

Minimum Wages in Europe [Comparative Study]
(1) Individual national reports
(2) Comparative Study