From Academic Kids

Salary is a form of periodic payment from the employer to the employee, which is specified in an employment contract.

Whilst 'wage' and 'salary' are often used interchangeably, 'salary' refers in particular to payment associated with a position over a fixed period of time, such as per week, per month, or per year. A manager or other person with oversight responsibilities (commonly referred to as a 'white-collar worker') would be more likely to draw a salary which does not vary with hours worked. A labourer or 'blue-collar worker' would take wages (usually paid weekly, biweekly, or monthly), based upon the actual hours worked.

From the point of view of running a business, salary can also be viewed as the cost of acquiring human resources for running operations, and is then termed personnel expense or salary expense. In accounting, salaries are recorded in payroll accounts.



'Salary' derives from the Latin words sal - meaning salt - and salarium, a payment made in salt. In medieval times, salt was a valuable barter commodity. This is also the source of the proverb 'to be worth one's salt'.


Pliny, following Aristotle's ideas, interprets the use of salt as a means of payment: ". . . in Rome . . . the soldier's pay was originally salt and the word salary derives from it . . . " Plinius Naturalis Historia. XXXI -

However we should note that Pliny may well have interpreted this payment wrongly. To judge from the missions and the locations to which the Roman army was despatched, it would seem that protecting the salt sources and ensuring the viability of the 'via salarium' was the true military objective - The first "legions" aka : LEGIO : "levying" were for the monarchy.

The idea of being a salaried employee, while old, did not become common until the development of corporations and industrial-scale employers. Prior to this, other models of work and compensation were more common, including slavery, serfdom, indentured servitude, sharecropping, or the models of communal work and ownership, as in medieval monestaries and universities.

Salaries in the US

In the United States, the distiction between periodic salaries (which could be paid regardless of hours worked) and hourly wages (meeting a minimum wage test and providing for overtime) was first codified by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. At that time, four categories of work were identified as being "exempt" from minimum wage and overtime protections, and therefore salariable. Those categories were (1) Executives (officers, managers, supervisors), (2) Administrators, (3) Professionals (from the learned professions such as lawyers, doctors, or creative professions, like actors and artists), and (4) Outside Sales (which at the time meant door-to-door salesmen). In 1991 the FLSA was amended to make clear that certain kinds of skilled computer jobs were also exempt and salariable. Positions which did not meet these tests were deemed "non-exempt" and had to be compensated with hourly wages and overtime by most employers.

External link

The Salt Archive Economics ( SALT Archive (

de:Arbeitsentgelt eo:Salajro fr:Salaire nl:Loon ja:給与 pl:Pensja


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools