The Importance Of Minimum Wage

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Minimum wages have long been a basic labour standard for workers in the developed world. In Canada, where labour regulations fall under provincial jurisdiction, minimum wage legislation has existed in some provinces since 1918. The first incarnations of these laws only applied to women, with the explicit purposes of protecting female workers from exploitation and unfairly low wages, while simultaneously preventing women from undercutting male wages. Today, minimum wage policy and regulation remain the purview of the provinces and territories, but apply equally, with a few exceptions, to all workers. Accordingly, minimum wage rates, and the process for determining the rate, can vary greatly across the country. In the United States, the first minimum wage legislation appeared federally, with The Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938. Since its first enactment, this legislation has been amended numerous times, with each subsequent minimum wage rate increase. Today, each state maintains the autonomy to set their minimum wage rates, so long as it is higher than the federally established rate. Minimum wage laws have greatly evolved since then their conception, now offering the social protection of a base wage to almost every worker in Canada and the United States. However, despite being an established labour standard for nearly a century, minimum wages remain a topic of fervent policy debate. Much of the dispute centres on the efficacy of minimum wage as a tool of economic growth.
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