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16.3A: The Importance of Paid and Unpaid Work

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    8480
  • [ "article:topic" ]

    Although we usually think of work as paid, unpaid work is equally important to the economy.

     

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

     

    Analyze the differences, importance and implications of both paid and unpaid work

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    Key Points

     

    • An hourly worker is an employee paid an hourly wage for their services, as opposed to a fixed salary. A salary is a form of periodic payment from an employer to an employee, which may be specified in an employment contract.
    • Unpaid workers work without pay.
    • An internship is a system of on-the-job training for white-collar and professional careers. Although interns are typically college or university students, they can also be high school students or post-graduate adults.
    • Unpaid work includes work done by family members to maintain a household. This work is usually done by women, and includes tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and rearing children.
    • An internship is a system of on-the-job training for white-collar and professional careers. Although interns are typically college or university students, they can also be high school students or post-graduate adults.

     

    Key Terms

     

    • alienation: Emotional isolation or dissociation.
    • specialization: applying to some specialty or limited object; assigning to a specific use; as, specialized knowledge
    • Division of labor: A division of labour is the dividing and specializing of cooperative labour into specifically circumscribed tasks and roles.

    Most of the time when we think of work, we think of paid work. Workers may be paid in a variety of ways, most commonly hourly wages or salaries. An hourly worker is an employee paid an hourly wage for their services, as opposed to a fixed salary. Hourly workers may often be found in service and manufacturing occupations, but are common across a variety of fields. A salary is a form of periodic payment from an employer to an employee, which may be specified in an employment contract.

    Many types of work, however, are unpaid. Unpaid workers work without pay. These may be members of a family or cooperative; conscripts or forced labor; volunteer workers who work for charity or amusement; students who take intern positions as work experience; or conventional workers who are not paid because their enterprise is short of money. Internships are a common type of unpaid work.

    An internship is a system of on-the-job training for white-collar and professional careers. Internships for professional careers are similar to apprenticeships for trade and vocational jobs. Although interns are typically college or university students, they can also be high school students or post-graduate adults. Generally, the internship is an exchange of services for experience between the student and his or her employer. Students exchange their cheap or free labor to gain experience in a particular field. They can also use an internship to determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit. Some interns also find permanent, paid employment with the companies in which they interned. Thus, employers also benefit, as experienced interns need little or no training when they begin full-time, regular employment.

    Another important type of unpaid work is work done by family members to maintain a household. Unpaid domestic work has traditionally been done by women (e.g., wives and mothers). Their work may include cooking, cleaning, rearing children, or managing household expenses. As more women enter the paid workforce, many find themselves returning home after a day of paid work to continue working a “second shift” of unpaid domestic work. Though unpaid, this domestic work is crucial to the economy: it keeps workers alive and healthy and helps raise new generations of workers to keep the paid economy running.