Wages and working time

Wages are undoubtedly among the most important conditions of work and employment at the enterprise level. Being a cost for employers as well as the main source of income for workers, wages may be a potential source of conflict and have thus become the major focus of collective bargaining all over the world. At the same time, wages can represent a major source of discrimination and deprivation if no decent floor is guaranteed to the workers. On the economic side, wages represent an important part of labour costs and are an essential variable for enterprises' competitiveness which need to be analysed, also with regard to their interaction with other key economic variables, such as employment, productivity and investment (Source: ilo.org).


In terms of working time, one of the major challenges is the need to limit excessive hours of work and provide for adequate periods of rest and recuperation, including weekly rest and paid annual leave, in order to protect workers' health and safety. The process of globalization and the resulting intensification of competition, the associated development in information and communications technologies, and new patterns of consumer demand for goods and services in the '24-hour economy' have had a large impact on production methods and work organization. The end result of these developments is a growing diversification, decentralization and individualization of the hours that people work, as well as an often increasing tension between enterprises' business requirements and workers' needs and preferences regarding their working time (Source: ilo.org).