Difference between “Salary” and “Wage” in English

Salary vs Wage: What's the Difference?

What is the difference between “Salary” and “Wage” in English?

When we talk about receiving income, in the English language there are often such words as: “salary” [sæl.ər.i] and “wage” [weɪdʒ]. These two words are often used in the context of income. The main difference between “salary” and “wage” is this: “salary” is usually a fixed regular payment, often monthly, given by an employer to an employee, while “wage” is payment on an hourly basis, meaning it is directly proportional to the hours worked. Let’s take a closer look at the usage of “salary” and “wage.”

What is a Salary?

“Salary” means a fixed amount of money received by an employee from an employer and paid out at regular intervals, usually monthly or fortnightly. That is, the income is constant, regardless of the number of hours and the amount of work performed.

For example, if someone has an annual salary of $50,000, this amount will be divided by the number of pay periods in the year to determine their regular salary payment. Salaried positions often come with certain expectations, such as completing tasks irrespective of the time it takes to achieve them, and usually include additional benefits like healthcare, retirement plans, and paid leave.


  • “As a salaried employee, Joan receives a consistent paycheck every fortnight, irrespective of the extra hours she sometimes works.”
  • “Salaried positions can offer more stability, as employees know exactly how much they will receive each pay period.”

What is a Wage?

“Wage” is payment for work that is calculated hourly, daily or per task. Unlike “salary”, if you work for a “wage”, your pay will vary based on the number of hours or tasks you complete over a period of time.

For example, if a worker earns an hourly wage of $15 and works 40 hours in a week, their earnings for that week before taxes and any other deductions will be $600. Wages are commonly found in part-time, casual, or trade positions, where work may not be consistent, or hours may vary from week to week.


  • “Emma is earning a wage of $10 per hour, so if she works more hours this week, she’ll see a larger paycheck.”
  • “Wage earners get paid for the exact number of hours they work, which can sometimes lead to fluctuating income.”

Key differences between “Salary” and “Wage”

  • Salary is a fixed regular payment, whereas wage is variable based on hours worked.
  • Salaried employees usually have set responsibilities that aren’t necessarily tied to the number of hours worked.
  • Wage earners are paid for the total amount of time they work, allowing for overtime payments if they work more than the standard working hours.
  • As for tax, when using “salary” income tax is usually deducted at a flat rate and employees often have a clearer tax situation, when using “wage” the tax can vary as wages change.

In English, it is important to understand the difference between “salary” and “wage” when you are in an interview, you need to understand what you want more – “salary” or “wage”. Such knowledge will not only help you to be confident, but also to navigate the offers you receive. Memorize the meaning of these words and improve your English, especially when considering job opportunities. “Salary” or “wage”, knowing the difference you can easily and quickly make informed decisions about your career and financial future.

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