Wage Structure

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wage Structure


in the USSR, the quantitative relationships that exist among the elements that constitute wages. Wage-structure elements include payments made according to salary schedules or wage scales, increments to salaries or wages, payments for bonus piecework, awards, wage differentials, and wage coefficients. Each element plays a specific role in the execution of the functions of wages in the economic system of a society.

Wage scales are based on established wage rates and salary schedules. Remuneration made according to an established wage scale is a basic compulsory element of the wages of each industrial and nonindustrial worker and employee. It serves as a means of ensuring the uniformity of payments for work performed based on job difficulty and worker qualifications. The starting level of a wage scale is based on the established minimum wage.

Increments and wage differentials are paid systematically to industrial and nonindustrial workers and employees for completing a continuous length of service, for working at jobs demanding a high level of physical exertion, for fulfilling a great amount of work with fewer number of workers (in the case of time-rate wages), for participating in professional diversification, for being skilled in a particular field, for working night hours, and for working overtime.

Bonus-piecework payments stimulate the growth of labor productivity. Piece wage rates are paid at those jobs where productive output can be exactly measured.

Awards are added to wages when additional production problems have been solved. They are paid out of wage and material incentive funds. Regional wage coefficients have been instituted because of the great differences that exist between the natural, climatic, and other conditions in various parts of the country.

During the ninth five-year plan (1971–75) a minimum wage of 70 rubles a month was introduced along with a simultaneous increase in the wage rates and salary schedules for industrial and nonindustrial workers and employees receiving average pay in the production branches of industry. As a result, the share of wage rates and salary schedules in the wage structure increased from 62 to 70–75 percent for workers and from 74 to 78–82 percent for technical engineers. The level of labor rates consequently rose.

The increased use of material incentive systems and award payments has led to an increase in the share of awards in the wage structure. However, payment for bonus piecework has decreased as a result of the introduction of new wage rates and the review of quotas, as well as the reduced use of piecework systems. Night wage differentials increased from 14 to 50 percent in the textile and bread-baking industries and as much as 20 percent in other branches of industry. Increments have been established for continuous length of service in the northern part of the European USSR. At the same time, the share of other wage differentials (for example, for overtime work) has decreased.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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