Piecework - Term Overview

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The piecework is one work that its rate would be paid by the production obtained and not by the time spent. That is, the employee doesn't receive, as usual, a fixed salary for each hour worked.

The piecework wage is usually the exception rather than the rule. In this sense, workers usually prefer a fixed remuneration every month or fortnight. Thus, they can better plan their expenses.

However, there are some sectors where employees have less bargaining power. Therefore, they may be willing to accept a variable salary that depends on their productivity in each period of time.

Piecework characteristics

Among the characteristics of piecework are:

- It tends to put more pressure on the worker. Since, depending on the fruit of your effort, the remuneration you will receive will be defined.
- The work performed must meet certain minimum quality standards to be remunerated.
- A person who collects a piece-rate wage is called a pieceworker.
- The employer has the advantage that it will only pay according to what the worker actually produces. Then it will have incentives to be more efficient. Seen in another way, the piece-rate wage prevents the company from overpaying workers who aren't productive in their working hours.
- It's usually related to unskilled labor and activities that require temporary workers, as in the case of agriculture or construction.


Let's imagine that a businessman has grown eight hectares of coffee. Then, as the harvest period approaches, he begins to look for laborers who are in charge of harvesting the fruits.

As there is a sufficient supply of workers in the coffee zone, the businessman proposes to pay per kilo of coffee collected. Thus, each contractor will end up receiving a different remuneration at the end of the harvest season.

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