minimum wage / minimum salary

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Hello everyone,

What is the difference between "minimum wage" and "minimum salary"? Please take a look.

1. Jose makes minimum wage.
2. Marya makes minimum salary.

Meaning intended: the lowest monthly remuneration that employers can legally pay to employees.

Thank you in advance!
  • Kayta

    English - Australia
    In Australia, the terms have quite separate meanings.

    A minimum wage is the smallest amount a worker can be paid per hour of work. So if the minimum wage is $10 per hour, then work 10 hours & get $100, work 20 hours & get $200.

    A minimum salary is the smallest amount a worker can be paid for a year, regardless of the amount of hours they work. So for a minimum salary of $5200, a person gets paid $100 per week, whether they work 10 hours a week or 50 hours each week.

    Different industries have different minimum wage amounts and sometimes different amounts for different ages.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    The minimum wage in the US is an hourly rate. Many people who earn minimum wage work only part time so there is no minimum income per year.
    A salary is a fixed rate for a pay period, i.e. per week or per month or per year, which is not directly related to hours worked. If you are paid a salary, you might not get any extra if you work more than the normal number of hours. There is no minimum salary in the US.
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    Yes, minimum wage is the minimum hourly wage, but it is sometimes calculated for the whole year -- in many economic bulletins or reports. I have never heard about a minimum salary in the US. There is something like the annual salary based on minimum wage, but I don't think I have ever herd minimum salary.
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    English - Australia
    In Australia, some sales people are paid a minimum salary per year, plus a comission per item they sell or a percentage of their sales amount.

    P.S. So it's "minimum salary" as in it's the minimum or least amount they will earn for the year even if they are terrible at sales and don't sell anything. But their real earnings could be much higher, there is no maximum set down at the beginning. Some car salespeople are on this type of deal.
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    Senior Member
    In AmE, at least, minimum wage is fixed by law or statute. It can vary from state to state, but it's a fixed, known quantity, and as other posters have noted, it's an hourly rate. If you want to know what it is, you just have to look up the relevant statute. Minimum salary, in contrast, is a concept. If I heard someone say this, all I'd know for certain is that the speaker believed that the amount in question isn't very much money.


    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    To my mind, the term "minimum salary" would be the minimum amount paid for a job that had a set wage scale that could be increased over time, but it would not be the same as minimum wage. For example::
    In the Worldwide Widget Corporation, the minimum salary for a clerk is $35,000 per year, while the minimum salary for a manager is $100,000 per year.


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    In the UK, the OP's definition: "the lowest monthly remuneration that employers can legally pay to employees" is termed the National Minimum Wage and is expressed as an hourly rate. It's currently (October 2014) £6.50 an hour at age 21 and over.


    Senior Member
    British English
    The term "minimum wage" is generally used to mean the lowest amount per hour that an employer is allowed by law to pay any employee. To pay less than the minimum wage would be an offence.

    The term "minimum salary" is generally used to mean the baseline salary of a particular job and is set by the employer and agreed with the employee. To pay less than the formally agreed salary would NOT in itself be an offence, although it might be a breach of contract or against employment law (ie not the actual amount but the fact that the agreed amount has not been paid).


    Senior Member
    English - USA
    There actually is a minimum salary in the USA, but it isn't called by that term. It's the minimum salary paid that qualifies a worker to be exempt from minimum wage requirements for hours worked. So for a salaried employee to not require keeping track of their hours and making sure they are paid at least minimum wage for hours actually worked, the employee's salary must be

    "Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for
    employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees. Section
    13(a)(1) and Section 13(a)(17) also exempt certain computer employees. To qualify for exemption, employees
    generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455
    per week


    New Member
    I think its the same.. what's really the difference .. it has a common meaning though.. its the minimum pay one can get for working :)
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