Compensation Data Facts - What's What in Compensation
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History of compensation... The earliest unit of time is the work day and from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, work days were structured around sunup and sundown. During this timeframe daily wages prevailed, since it was difficult to determine individual amounts of work performed. Towards the end of the 19th century, 'piece rates' (fixed payment per unit of production) became the common method of payment since it required little supervision and encouraged hard work.
Industrialization made wages more complex in the 19th century when multiple payment systems co-existed in the same industry. Some workers were paid 'piece rates,' others received daily wages and the remainder were paid a fixed weekly salary.