A Purposive Interpretation of the National Minimum Wage Act
Modern Law Review, Vol. 72, pp. 581-606, 2009
47 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2010
Date Written: 2009
This article uses a purposive method of interpretation to suggest solutions to various questions raised in the application of the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA). The article first considers the goals of minimum wage laws (and the NMWA in particular) by putting forward the justifications for such laws and addressing critiques. It is argued that the minimum wage is best understood as a mechanism for redistribution of resources and ensuring respect for the human dignity of workers. Building on this articulation of goals, the article then proceeds to consider which group of workers are included within the scope of the NMWA (interpreting terms such as ‘worker’, ‘voluntary workers’, apprentices and trainees); what are considered as working hours for the purpose of the Act (focusing on cases of work/sleep combinations); and what constitutes part of the wage (focusing on tips, attendance allowances and deductions for accommodations).
Keywords: minimum wage, employment standards, labour law, labor law, employment law, purposive interpretation
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