Living wages are paid

Case study - Piece rate workers make minimum wage

Ensuring piece rate workers make minimum wage

Workers picking cabbages in a UK supplier company were paid by piece rate. Management did not record the number of hours people worked so they could not (and did not) check whether these workers were earning at least the national minimum wage.

It was clear that they would have to start keeping new records in order to be able to ensure each worker had earned at least the national minimum wage for each hour worked. Management started to record the number of pieces picked each hour and also the start and finish times. Where workers had not picked enough to earn the minimum wage, management made up their wages to the minimum level.

This information on pick rates per hour also brought other benefits to the management. It helped them to identify which times of day workers were most productive and also which workers needed more training to improve their productivity. Also, by exploring the reasons with the workers themselves as to why they were less productive, management were told about improvements that could be made to equipment to improve productivity for the whole team.

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