The Minimum Wage Essay Example

When someone thinks of minimum wage, they think of the pay that is given out at their local Mcdonalds, but people must understand that minimum is so much more than that. Minimum wage has been used on this earth for quite a while now; it was actually in 1940 when one of the first amendments was put in to help with minimum wage. The official definition of minimum wage is, the lowest wage permitted by law or by a special agreement (such as one with a labor union), but what does that mean? The origin of minimum wage started in New Zealand in 1894. The main reason for minimum wage at that time was so that the minimum wage law could cover all businesses and all industries across the country. After the minimum wage laws were then passed the administration about the FLSA started to come around. The FLSA is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is a federal law which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. Overall all of these steps were taken because minimum wage was conceived as a way to help bolster wageworkers and decrease class stratification. So, because of this more people would be able to get a job and support their family and this was the start of social class. This was a start of social class because since minimum wage and people were getting paid more money, then there would start to become a wealth gap between people in the same town.

In each country, there are different times when they decide to implement minimum wage into their country. The thing that we must look at and analyze is what was the reason for these countries to implement this theory of minimum wage into their country and how did they feel having minimum wage in their country would affect others. The good thing is that most countries knew that having minimum wage in their country would allow their citizens to help the economy by bringing in new money.

First, if we look at the United States of America, the history of America goes all the way back to a country that was created off of slaves that never had an option of minimum wage. Someone would look back at that time and wonder how does a country go from not paying people for doing hard work to implementing the theory of minimum wage into their country. In America, the first federal was implemented in 1938 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. At that time the minimum wage was only set at 25 cents an hour. So in today's money that would equal out to $4 in today's money. That minimum wage was introduced as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Which is what I talked about earlier in this report when I said, “laws were then passed the administration about the FLSA started to come around.” So by the time, the United States started minim wage the FLSA was already put together. So this shows that the United States was a little late in the game when it came to having a minimum wage. So as the years pass minimum wage had a bumpy time throughout the years. Throughout the years “minimum wage has been raised 22 times by 12 different presidents”(Bose). This shows that minimum wage has been on a rising scale for a while now because 12 presidents are equal to 48 years and that is a pretty long time. This also shows that In America minimum wage has only risen with congressional action.


In this chart, you can see how quickly money changed in the United States, and you can also see that there jumps in the amount of money that was being raised. Meaning that when $4.25 jumps to $4.75 that is a big jump in just one year because America started to realize that they needed to start paying their citizens more money.

Next, if we look deep into Europe and in the United Kingdom we can see that minimum wage started there a little bit differently. In the United Kingdom, “The Low Pay Commission (LPC) was established as an independent body as a result of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 to advise the Government on the National Minimum Wage”(National Minimum Wage). This shows that minimum wage was started once the United Kingdom used some outside help and got a push from the (LPC) to start in 1998. In April 1999 the rate of the NMW was £3.60 per hour (£3.00 for 18 to 21-year-olds). The unfortunate thing is that at that time, “1.9 million people were believed to be paid less than that”(National Minimum Wage). That is sad because just for the fact that the minimum wage is already not that much money and companies decide to lower it to save money, but what they don't realize is that they are not even giving anything for their workers to live off of. Things in the United Kingdom have now changed, so now and they are starting to give their citizens some more money per hour that they work. In the United Kingdom, “Current rates (from 1 October 2012) are £6.19 for workers aged 21 and over, £4.98 for 18-20-year-olds, £3.68 for 16-17-year-olds and £2.65 for apprentices aged under 19, or over 19 if in their first year of apprenticeship”(National Minimum Wage). The United Kingdom is starting to pay their citizens what they deserve finally, but the rate can still increase because citizens do so much for that country that makes it such an attractive tourist site.

As I grow up, I will always remember the endless summers that I spent on the island of Trinidad and Tobago with my grandparents and just taking in the endless summer breeze. That is why I felt like I needed to integrate the history and minimum wage of Trinidad because it is a piece of me that I can add to this report. In Trinidad, their Minimum Wages board was put in place in March 1977. Following this, The National Minimum wage rate was implemented in The Trinidad and Tobago system in 1998. So you can tell that it took 19 years for Trinidad to have a final rate for their citizens to make. That's unfortunate because I am sure that it was hard for their citizens to make money when they needed to support their own families. Today in Trinidad their minimum wage is set at $15.00, but it was not always that sweet. At first Trinidad’s minimum wage was set at $7.00 per hour and that was a little hard for citizens that have big families that they need to provide for. Then a couple of years later in 2003 Trinidad decided to raise their minimum wage to $8.00, and that is completely ridiculous because that is only a raise of $1.00 throughout 4 years. This was bad because you must look at how this economically affects Trinidad citizens in the way that families are not allowed to bring in that much of a monthly family income. Then two years later the Trinidad wage board decided to raise their minimum wage $9.00 which is somewhat better, but not that much. This is because in this country when you go to a simple Mcdonalds a Big Mac meal is worth $39.00 Trinidad dollars; that is a shame because that is a lot to come up with just for a Big Mac. I am just saying this because it seems as though the Trinidad government was not looking out for their citizens when they first implemented the theory of minimum wage into their country.

Everyone knows that all citizens like to voice their opinions when it comes to laws that are going to affect them. So, I feel as though that it would be important to review the voices of all the citizens of these countries and to see if they like their minimum wage rate or not. In the United States of America, it has come to a consensus that all of their citizens would like to see the minimum wage raised throughout the whole country. “Additionally, those surveyed felt, on average, the federal minimum wage should be $11.56 per hour”(Berger). In this article by CNBC, they decided to survey 2,669 Americans and with the data that they received back they were able to see that majority of U.S citizens would like to see the minimum wage at $11.56. In my opinion, I believe that minimum wage could be easily obtained because I believe that the U.S. government can easily how much money is yearly brought into this country and they can realize that U.S. workers deserve higher pay.

In the United Kingdom, it is easily seen that their citizen are majorly in need of a minimum wage increase. Their current minimum wage is set at that people 25 and over only make £7.83 an hour, 21 to 24-year-olds make £7.38 an hour, 18 to 20-year-olds only make £5.90, and anyone under the age of 18 only makes £4.20 an hour. This is completely sad for a country to do this to their citizens they deserve so much more. It was even said in an article in The Guardian, ‘"I think everyone wants to see an increase in the minimum wage. I'd like to see an increase in the minimum wage," he said during a visit to a garage in north London”(Mason). This shows that the citizens of the United Kingdom are ready for someone in their government to raise the minimum wage to what they deserve.

For the lovely island of Trinidad and Tobago, they are coming from a completely different point of view. In Trinidad, it is surprising that they would rather their government, not raise their minimum wage and use the money elsewhere to help the country decrease their national debt. It was said in a Trinidad news blog run by residents of Trinidad and Tobago that, “So we don’t think anyone should be seeking any huge increase in salary and allowances at this point in the country’s economic history”(Editorial). This shows that Trinidad citizens really care about the state of their country and would rather save their country than to be paid more money. That can also be a good thing because economically decreasing their national debt would allow Trinidad to bring in more money for their country so you can see that their citizens are knowledgeable.

Now we all know that it is hard to live off of minimum wage, but it is even harder if you are apart of the percentage of people that unemployed. In the United States of America, they have an unemployment rate of 4.0% which is not that bad, but at the same time living in America off of minimum wage is not any better than being unemployed. In an article by CNBC, it was said that “As Bliss points out, "in 2017, the average U.S. worker would need to bring in a whopping $21.21 per hour to reasonably afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. That's nearly three times the federal minimum wage of $7.25”(Bloom). That is very sad for a country that produces a yearly revenue of 3.422 trillion dollars, and that revenue is coming from all the people that are working for this country, and the fact that the government can not even pay their citizens a higher minimum wage that isn't a fair balance between the government and citizens.

In the United Kingdom, it is also hard for their citizens to live off of their minimum wage because it is so low, and people are found working endless hours but not even being able to afford a one bedroom apartment. The United Kingdom needs to work on helping out their citizens with enough pay for them to live a healthy life. At this point their country is at this state, “But the Living Wage Foundation estimates the new government minimum would provide a worker with an annual salary worth almost £1,800 less than the real living wage, which is calculated to cover what people need to spend on basic living costs for housing, transport, childcare and food”(Partington). This shows that in the United Kingdom they are not paying their citizens enough money to live a good life in the United Kingdom. So, it could be said that the lifestyle of living in the United Kingdom off minimum wage is not easy at all.

In Trinidad and Tobago, it is hard trying to live a full life off of minimum wage just like all of these other countries. In Trinidad, their unemployment rate is at 4.40%, and it seems as though it is beginning to rise, due to the rise of citizens that have been layed off by their job. It is stated in Caribbean news now article that, “55,000 hard working citizens who have lost their jobs since September 2015”(Bissoon). Trinidad unemployment rate is going to continue to rise as time goes on and that is not going to be good for their country because not as much revenue would be coming in. In this aspect, Trinidad does not need to raise their countries minimum wage because it is good at the rate that it is at now which is, $15.00 Trinidad dollars an hour, which is only $2.50 in American money. The country just needs to find a way to create more jobs for their citizens to make more money and produce a higher yearly revenue.

Overall, from this deep analysis on minimum wage, a reader can understand that minimum wage was implemented in different parts around the world at about the same time. Also, the reader can see that being unemployed is the same as having a job only making minimum wage because most people like that can not even afford a one bedroom apartment by themselves. Also, I am glad that I was able to give the reader a look into my world by exploring Trinidad and their government and how they deal with minimum wage. In this report, I also wanted to talk about my personal views and how I viewed minimum wage, and whether I believe that the thought of minimum wage should be changed and if people should be paid in different aspects or whether I think the pay needs to be increased or not. In the country that I live in which is the United States of America, I feel as though our minimum wage is too low and it is not right because citizens do so much for this nation that helps our yearly revenue increase every year. Also, in this country, I feel as though the thought of “minimum” should be deleted from society because I feel as though it gives making that amount of money a negative connotation. That thought and terminology are bad for society because it makes people think less of themselves and make them not want to get a job because society and media manipulate them into believing making minimum wage is something bad. Lastly, I feel as though people should be paid in different aspects meaning that depending on how important your job is to society then that meant you would be paid more. So, this would be done so that teachers would finally be able to get the pay that they deserve and so would nurses. Basically, throughout the paper, it is easy to see that the level of minimum wage in all the countries mentioned are somewhat high because these countries have low unemployment rates which means that people are getting paid in these countries even though they will have their economic unexpected struggles.


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