Methods of labour remuneration

This can be classified into four:-
i) Time based system
ii) Performance/output base system
iii) Bonus schemes
iv) Profit sharing/co-ownership

Time based system This is further subdivided into two

a) Basic system (flat rate)
Under this system workers are paid for the number of hours worked at the basic rate e.g. 40 hours/week at Ksh 1,000/hrs. The wages are calculated as follows: Wages = number of hours x rate/hour Any hours worked in excess of the basic time will be considered as an overtime and paid at a higher rate e.g. 1 ½ x the basic hour rate Advantages of basic system:

  • Simple to understand and administer
  • It simplifies wage negotiations since only one rate needs to be determined
  • The workers need not work in hurry and this guarantees quality.
  • Remuneration is assured and therefore workers have a feeling of security.

Disadvantages of basic system:

No real incentive to increase output
Employees in the same grade are paid the same amount regardless of performance
Constant supervision may be necessary

The resultant decrease in production tends to increase the average cost per unit because of fewer units to which overheads are to be charged.

b) Highly day-rate system
Is a time based system designed to provide a strong incentive by paying rates above the basic time rate in exchange for above average performance. Advantages of highly day-rate system:

  • It can attract higher grade workers
  • It provides a direct incentive without the complications of individual piecework rates
  • It’s simple to understand and administer
  • It requires less supervision since the performance targets are agreed on in advance
  • The workers need not work in hurry and this guarantees quality.

Disadvantages of highly day-rate system

  • The highly day rate system may lead to competition i.e. raising the wage rate so as to attract higher grade workers which may eventually make labour cost be expensive in the entire industry.
  • Problems may occur when the original performance targets are not achieved

Areas where time based system is most appropriate

  • Where the quality of work is more important than quantity e.g. in teaching, medicine manufacturing, safety considerations etc
  • Where output cannot be measured in quantitative terms e.g. in the case of indirect work like the work of a watchman, teacher etc.
  •  Where output is beyond the control of a particular work e.g. in process industries where goods move from one person to another before obtaining the final output, in power stations etc.
  • Where the worker is a learner or an apprentice.


Performance/output based system

This uses output obtained to determine the wages. There are two categories of output based system

a) Straight piece work system
The work is paid an agreed rate/unit for all the number of units produced

The wage is computed as follows:
Wages = number of units produced x rate per unit


b) Differential piece work system
One objection to the straight piecework system is that the incentive effect at higher production levels declines because a flat rate per unit is paid throughout. Differential
piecework seeks to overcome this by motivating workers to increase output. The units produced are divided into classes/bands such that units at higher levels are paid at
higher rates. The rates are increased progressively at various production levels. For example:

Up to 100 units – ksh. 10 per unit
100 – 150 units – ksh. 15 per unit
151 – 200 units – ksh. 20 per unit
201 – above units – ksh. 25 per unit

Advantages of performance/output system

  • It benefits both the employee and employer i.e. the employee can earn higher incomes while the employer gets increased output.
  • Boosts the morale of workers since extra effort is rewarded.
  • Higher grade workers may be attracted due to the opportunity to earn higher wages.
  • Minimal supervision is required.


  • Complex and expensive to administer.
  • Unskilled workers may earn as much as skilled workers leading to dissatisfaction among the skilled workers.
  • There is the possibility of low quality output.

Bonus schemes
These schemes provide the basis for sharing the gains in labour efficiency between the employer and the employees.

Profit sharing/co-ownership
This is where employees are encouraged to own shares in the company that they work for.
It allows workers to take part in the dividends at the end of the year which gives them sufficient motivation to increase output so as to share the company’s gross profit.

Factors influencing wages

  • General economic climate of a particular industry.
  • Government policy i.e. whether there is a minimum wage requirement or not.
  • Profitability of the firm.
  • Strength of the union.
  • The supply of labour in the market.
  • Strategic importance of the industry to the economy e.g. electricity supply
  • Availability of workers with appropriate skills.
  • The extent of danger and hazards at the work place.
  • The rate of labour turnover (rate at which workers join and leave the organization).
  • Wage rates prevailing locally and nationally

Labour Remuneration methods

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