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ehsan_b
Community Member

Job postings with seriously low rates should not be allowed

Hello

Hope you are all doing good.

I am a freelancer from Pakistan. Been a Freelancer on upwork from 3 years. Have met some wonderful persons.I have worked on many freelance platforms but upwork is the best one because on upwork freelancers are treated as persons.

Today i saw a Job offer from United states the client was looking for SEO Digital Marketing Manager full time with html skills.

5 days a week and 8 hours per day.

So quick maths.

 8*5=40 hours per week

If we say there are 4 weeks in a month

40*4=160

So a freelancer will be working for them 160 hours and according to upwork minimum hourly rate Policy that freelancer should be paid atleast $3/hour. So that freelancer should be paid $480/hour But the Client had clearly stated that person will be paid $250 per month. So freelancer is getting $1.56 per hour.

I think upwork should not allow such postings and under "Flag as inappropriate" there should be option of "Client offering less payment".

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

34 REPLIES 34
nkocendova
Community Member

Hi Muhammad,

Thank you for bringing this to our attention, our team will review the job posting.

~Nina
e_luneborg
Community Member

There is a very quick and easy way to deal with this. Just don't apply for the job.

 

I really don't understand why so many freelancers are spending so much time getting frustrated over the rates clients want to pay. Either apply for the job or don't. If Upwork reviews the posting and removes it or not, who cares. Just find another job with rates you are willing to work for. 

________________________
Freelancing is a gamble - To win you need skill, luck and a strategy

Well I haven't applied and i never apply for jobs i mostly work with my previous clients.

I just think that it is very unfair that someone from a under developed country is getting paid a lot less for doing a job that a person from developed country is paid so much. These type of Clients are just taking advantage of these freelancers due to their geographics who don't know the value of their skills.

A person should be paid for his work. Not according to his country but according to the quality of work he did.

browersr
Community Member


@Muhammad E wrote:

Well I haven't applied and i never apply for jobs i mostly work with my previous clients.

I just think that it is very unfair that someone from a under developed country is getting paid a lot less for doing a job that a person from developed country is paid so much. These type of Clients are just taking advantage of these freelancers due to their geographics who don't know the value of their skills.

A person should be paid for his work. Not according to his country but according to the quality of work he did.


I understand the sentiment you are making if not your conclusion. Indeed people should be paid based on the quality and value of their work and neither of those things have to do with country of origin. However, no one is demanding anyone to take a job at a given rate. You gave an example of a client paying a low rate, but couldn't someone from the US take that same low rate job? Is there someone there pointing a gun at your head telling you to accept that job at that rate or else? 

 

Freelancers can price themselves as they want. There is no check on UW that says if you are from country X you can only charge $12/hr but if you are from country Y, you are allowed to charge $30/hr. That's on you. Similarly no one makes you apply for any job and no one prevents you from negotiating a fair wage with any client. 

kat303
Community Member


@Muhammad E wrote:

Well I haven't applied and i never apply for jobs i mostly work with my previous clients.

I just think that it is very unfair that someone from a under developed country is getting paid a lot less for doing a job that a person from developed country is paid so much. These type of Clients are just taking advantage of these freelancers due to their geographics who don't know the value of their skills.

A person should be paid for his work. Not according to his country but according to the quality of work he did.


 --------

I totally agree with you that a person should be paid for his work, not from the country they live in. But I disagree with you on all the rest. Clients are NOT taking advantage of freelancers. No one is forcing freelancers to work for low rates. The only ones that are taking advantage of, is the freelancers themselves. If they want to, and are happy with those wages, then good for them.

 

Low wages are prevalent in underdeveloped countries. In many instances, what we think are low wages can actually be higher then what would be earned working in a business in their country at the same type of job they would be working with freelancing.

 

And lets face it, there are freelancers from all over, developed and undeveloped countries who do not value their work to be higher. They don't have the skills or qualifications and therefore do not and should not get higher wages.

 

So, it is totally up to the freelancers, from where ever they are, as to what they are happy to earn, freelancing.

versailles
Community Member

Job postings with seriously low rates should not be allowed considered by serious freelancers.

 

Problem solved.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless

Right now, I'm using Freelancer Plus option. One of the reasons is because it's interesting to see what other Freelancers are bidding. And it is pathetic. People bid $3 for jobs that I consider worth above $500.

Muhammad, if a person has the needed skill set(s) it does not matter where he/she lives; bid only on jobs that pay decently. 

 

You are a professional and would never bid on (let alone work with) a client paying deplorable rates.  Nor would many of us. There are two types of people that will:

 

1. The talented new-comers who erroneously believe any job history is better than none.  We could all write books about why this is the most self-defeating and dumbest approach to ever take. 

 

2. The incompetent FLer, lacking in skills and sense, who doesn't get the axiom - "Pay peanuts: Get monkeys".

 

In the end, U. makes money in either situation. There are far more incompetents on the platform than professionals. So, based on numbers alone, U. will never change the current approach.

I just made a thread asking pretty much the same thing and now I see this ๐Ÿ™‚

 

It is extremelly strange that Upwork have a 3$/h minimum for hourly jobs and allows clients to take advantage of freelancers by paying them less than that using fixed price as some kind of loophole.


@Dragan C wrote:

I just made a thread asking pretty much the same thing and now I see this ๐Ÿ™‚

 

It is extremelly strange that Upwork have a 3$/h minimum for hourly jobs and allows clients to take advantage of freelancers by paying them less than that using fixed price as some kind of loophole.


 I think they're not taking advantage of the freelancers. They're taking advantage of Upwork.

"I think they're not taking advantage of the freelancers. They're taking advantage of Upwork."

 

I love that comment, but they are taking advantage of both.

There are reasons there are minimum wage laws and Upwork's policy of allowing wages as low as $3 per hour is actually pretty disgraceful.

It would be wonderful, in Ronald Reagan Reasoning, if all the employers in the world believed in trickle down economics in which they paid fairly simply because they wanted the very best workers money could buy. But we all know that is not the case. There is an entire global perspective in which employers from every corner of the planet (does a round planet have corners?) pay the least amount they can. You know that; everybody knows that.

I recently argued with a client about his pay rate. His rationale was simple: He could get away with it, so he choose to do so. I told him slave owners used the same reasoning. 

 

Sorry to inform some of you, but humans do not always act in society's best interest -- especially -- not incidentally, although that, too -- when it comes to matters of money. 

Ronald Reagan preached that government was too big and that we could all prosper and live peacefully by dint of human volunteerism. Have you seen a lot of billionaires donating money to re-build Puetro Rico? Or rebuild after the Great East Japan Earthquake? No. They tend to concentrate their philanthropic efforts on supporting the local opera house, tax write offs that benefit themselves coming and going.

 

Yes, there are exceptions. And, yes, it is rich folks who create and run governments to protect themselves from the tsunami of common sense rising up from the swamps. And, yes, communism has some serious flaws -- among them, the rich folks tend to pack up and leave. Nevertheless -- where was I? -- decency is often upheld by laws, not by pipe dreams. 

 

That said, we're entering the bitcoin universe, which means that wages in New York now balance out with the cost of living -- rent, food, shelter and medical expenses in the Philippines, Peru, India, Germany, Cyprus and Puerto Rico. Graciously, I think, Upwork recently bowed to pressures and allowed that clients who wanted "US Only" applicants for their jobs could filter out the rest of the applicants. That makes some sense. But did Upwork also connect that to a U.S. minimum wage policy? Can you filter out all the applicants who don't live in the United States, but still pay $3 per hour for those jobs?

 

I don't know the answer to that. But this is where the rubber meets the road. Upwork should comply with the laws at the very least.


@Anthony H wrote:

 

 

I don't know the answer to that. But this is where the rubber meets the road. Upwork should comply with the laws at the very least.


Anthony, I do agree with almost everything you wote (except maybe listing Germany along with Philippines, Peru, India and whatnot. Cost of living in Germany is very high, but I'm going off-topic), but I don't agree with you on this.

 

What laws do you want Upwork to comply with? I live in France, so it is French laws? You live in the US, so is it US laws?

 

Freelancing is not employment and while I condemn clients who are trying to exploit desperate people, I see no laws that could prevent them from doing so. They are taking advantage of people who are desperate or naive enough to be taken advantage of, while smarter and more aggressive freelancers manage to fight for their rates way better.

 

Freelancing is a world of inequalities, starting with the fact that not everyone has what it takes to freelance.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless

Anthony, I live in Hong Kong where the minimum wage is about $4.5 per hour in USD, and people earning that rate would need to work extremely long hours to make ends meet, since the cost of living is insanely high in this city.

Still, there are many, many employers who tried to pay a wage rate way lower than what is required by law. Thus, I can only agree that people do not act in the society's best interest, or, at least, they don't care about the welfare of other human beings. On Upwork, I am pretty sure it is the same case.

On the other hand, there are some countries where the cost of living is low enough for someone to live comfortably if he/she makes $15 a day. I am not suggesting that clients are generous to pay $3/hr, because they are not; nor am I suggesting that people should be paid according to their cost of living instead of their productivity; I am merely suggesting that some people in our world could live a much better life by making $2 per hour. Thus, I would not say clients are taking advantage of the freelancers, as this could be beneficial to both parties.

This is only applicable for writers and editors but I am quite sure there are similar sources for professional rates in other areas. These are not US rates; they reflect professional rates.

 

https://www.the-efa.org/

 

I've sent this to potential clients to validate my rate.  And never had an argument once they reviewed it.

Anthony speaks of Reaganesque (is that even a word?) pipe dreams. Here is another, but please do not credit me with the idea- 

 

What if Upwork could be broken up into several entities,to wit;

 

1.) Upwork North America/Europe - here US clients could hire US contractors at rates that make sense to contractors who are based in the US and Europe.

2) Upwork Asia - In this Upwork, clients from all over the world (including Asia) could hire contractors from Asia at rates that make sense only to contractors who are based in Asia. Africa could maybe be lumped into this Upwork. 

3) Upwork As We Know It - In this Upwork, clients from anywhere could hire contractors from anywhere, but only at rates that make sense to contractors everywhere. Put in another way, this means that clients cannot use the "cost of living is lower in your part of the world" excuse. 

 

Do you guys think Upwork could manage this?  


@Reinier B wrote:

What if Upwork could be broken up into several entities,to wit;

 

1.) Upwork North America/Europe - here US clients could hire US contractors at rates that make sense to contractors who are based in the US and Europe.

2) Upwork Asia - In this Upwork, clients from all over the world (including Asia) could hire contractors from Asia at rates that make sense only to contractors who are based in Asia. Africa could maybe be lumped into this Upwork. 

3) Upwork As We Know It - In this Upwork, clients from anywhere could hire contractors from anywhere, but only at rates that make sense to contractors everywhere. Put in another way, this means that clients cannot use the "cost of living is lower in your part of the world" excuse. 

 

Do you guys think Upwork could manage this?  


 Probably too complicated. Just in Europe, the standard of living is completely different depending on the country, for example Switzerland's compared to Portugal's. I'm sure it's the same in Asia and on the other continents.

I've never considered answering an offer made from a client in certain countries, unless I'm moved by curiosity, because I know they won't be able to afford a decent rate.


@Luce N wrote:

@Reinier B wrote:

What if Upwork could be broken up into several entities,to wit;

 

1.) Upwork North America/Europe - here US clients could hire US contractors at rates that make sense to contractors who are based in the US and Europe.

2) Upwork Asia - In this Upwork, clients from all over the world (including Asia) could hire contractors from Asia at rates that make sense only to contractors who are based in Asia. Africa could maybe be lumped into this Upwork. 

3) Upwork As We Know It - In this Upwork, clients from anywhere could hire contractors from anywhere, but only at rates that make sense to contractors everywhere. Put in another way, this means that clients cannot use the "cost of living is lower in your part of the world" excuse. 

 

Do you guys think Upwork could manage this?  


 Probably too complicated. Just in Europe, the standard of living is completely different depending on the country, for example Switzerland's compared to Portugal's. I'm sure it's the same in Asia and on the other continents.

I've never considered answering an offer made from a client in certain countries, unless I'm moved by curiosity, because I know they won't be able to afford a decent rate.


 You are right about this scheme being too complicated, but it was not meant to be taken seriously.

 

Exhange rates play a big role in the debate about what many contractors consider to be reasonable rates but speaking strictly for myself, I'm more than happy to take advantage of the (un)favorable rate of exhange between my currency and the US dollar. 


@Reinier B wrote:



 You are right about this scheme being too complicated, but it was not meant to be taken seriously.

 

 

 

 Well, it still is an interesting concept.


Reinier,  surely you jest.  Woman Frustrated  ๐Ÿ˜‰


@Wendy C wrote:

Reinier,  surely you jest.  Woman Frustrated  ๐Ÿ˜‰


About what? Exchange rates, or breaking Upwork up into regional entities? Smiley Wink

Reinier, I was referring to the odds of any of the entities working should Upwork segment as you mentioned.


@Wendy C wrote:

Reinier, I was referring to the odds of any of the entities working should Upwork segment as you mentioned.


 Wendy, yes, I was joking. It was perhaps not a very good joke, but I never thought that anyone would see it as an interesting concept.  


@Anthony H wrote:

There are reasons there are minimum wage laws and Upwork's policy of allowing wages as low as $3 per hour is actually pretty disgraceful.


 $ 3 an hour is actually many times the minimum wage in a hell of a lot of countries. So you think it is "disgraceful" to allow people to feed their families by working online for many times more than they could ever hope to earn in their local economy, when such jobs don't affect you either way?

 


@Petra R wrote:

@Anthony H wrote:

There are reasons there are minimum wage laws and Upwork's policy of allowing wages as low as $3 per hour is actually pretty disgraceful.


 $ 3 an hour is actually many times the minimum wage in a hell of a lot of countries. So you think it is "disgraceful" to allow people to feed their families by working online for many times more than they could ever hope to earn in their local economy, when such jobs don't affect you either way?

 


 Petra, I'm not so sure that getting a $3 dollars an hour job once in a while allows many people to feed their families. This could just be a myth. Did you read the information about minimum wage in Hong-Kong in the beginning of this thread? I can tell you that having minimum wage in France sucks, people can only survive on minimal wage because the rest of the citizens (taxes) pays for the state to help them survive. In my opinion, paying someone minimum wage when that person deserves more and you  could afford to pay more is unethical. The excuse that it is the minimum wage is a bad excuse.


@Luce N wrote:

@Petra R wrote:

@Anthony H wrote:

There are reasons there are minimum wage laws and Upwork's policy of allowing wages as low as $3 per hour is actually pretty disgraceful.


 $ 3 an hour is actually many times the minimum wage in a hell of a lot of countries. So you think it is "disgraceful" to allow people to feed their families by working online for many times more than they could ever hope to earn in their local economy, when such jobs don't affect you either way?

 


 Petra, I'm not so sure that getting a $3 dollars an hour job once in a while allows many people to feed their families. This could just be a myth. Did you read the information about minimum wage in Hong-Kong in the beginning of this thread? I can tell you that having minimum wage in France sucks, people can only survive on minimal wage because the rest of the citizens (taxes) pays for the state to help them survive. In my opinion, paying someone minimum wage when that person deserves more and you  could afford to pay more is unethical. The excuse that it is the minimum wage is a bad excuse.


 When Upwork introduced the $ 3.00 minimum rate the main outrage (by far) was from freelancers in countries where doctors earn less to little more than that because it meant they lost their jobs and yes, with that they lost their ability to feed their families.

 

Whatever we in privileged Western countries think someone "deserves" is irrelevant unless we ourselves are happy to put our own hands in our own pockets and pay them.

 

The alternative to doing data entry from home for $ 3 an hour for so many of those people is not being paid $ 5 an hour, it is being abused in some sweat shop for $ 0.25 an hour and earning less than $ 3 a day, or nothing at all, with no "Social Security" to even things out.

 

Why not let people decide how they want to live and work, rather than taking away their choices altogether?

 

I find it as distasteful as the next person when people in low cost countries are used to create profit for those who are already lucky by priviledge of birth, but when all is said and done my priviledged sensitivities must not result in someone literally being unable to feed their kids becaue I self-righteously declare that I don't want them to earn a living because I want them to earn more when realistically taking away what they are happy with but I don't agree with means they end up with nothing at all...

 

 


@Petra R wrote:

 When Upwork introduced the $ 3.00 minimum rate the main outrage (by far) was from freelancers in countries where doctors earn less to little more than that because it meant they lost their jobs and yes, with that they lost their ability to feed their families.

 

Whatever we in privileged Western countries think someone "deserves" is irrelevant unless we ourselves are happy to put our own hands in our own pockets and pay them.

 

The alternative to doing data entry from home for $ 3 an hour for so many of those people is not being paid $ 5 an hour, it is being abused in some sweat shop for $ 0.25 an hour and earning less than $ 3 a day, or nothing at all, with no "Social Security" to even things out.

 

Why not let people decide how they want to live and work, rather than taking away their choices altogether?

 

I find it as distasteful as the next person when people in low cost countries are used to create profit for those who are already lucky by priviledge of birth, but when all is said and done my priviledged sensitivities must not result in someone literally being unable to feed their kids becaue I self-righteously declare that I don't want them to earn a living because I want them to earn more when realistically taking away what they are happy with but I don't agree with means they end up with nothing at all...

 

 


I don't understand the link between minimum wage $3 and people losing their jobs in "those countries". It doesn't make sense to me.

Also, I don't believe it is the same people that get jobs on Upwork and that work in a sweat shops. The people that work on Upwork have had an education, they can read and write, they can afford a computer and electricity bills. 

Petra nailed it when she wrote Why not let people decide how they want to live and work, rather than taking away their choices altogether?


@Luce N wrote:

@Petra R wrote:

 When Upwork introduced the $ 3.00 minimum rate the main outrage (by far) was from freelancers in countries where doctors earn less to little more than that because it meant they lost their jobs and yes, with that they lost their ability to feed their families.

 

Whatever we in privileged Western countries think someone "deserves" is irrelevant unless we ourselves are happy to put our own hands in our own pockets and pay them.

 

The alternative to doing data entry from home for $ 3 an hour for so many of those people is not being paid $ 5 an hour, it is being abused in some sweat shop for $ 0.25 an hour and earning less than $ 3 a day, or nothing at all, with no "Social Security" to even things out.

 

Why not let people decide how they want to live and work, rather than taking away their choices altogether?

 

I find it as distasteful as the next person when people in low cost countries are used to create profit for those who are already lucky by priviledge of birth, but when all is said and done my priviledged sensitivities must not result in someone literally being unable to feed their kids becaue I self-righteously declare that I don't want them to earn a living because I want them to earn more when realistically taking away what they are happy with but I don't agree with means they end up with nothing at all...

 

 


I don't understand the link between minimum wage $3 and people losing their jobs in "those countries". It doesn't make sense to me.

Also, I don't believe it is the same people that get jobs on Upwork and that work in a sweat shops. The people that work on Upwork have had an education, they can read and write, they can afford a computer and electricity bills. 


 The fact that you don't understand it doesn't mean it's not true.

 

Imagine that you live in a country where professionals such as physicians earn an average of $8/day. Not hour, day. Minimum wage is, say, $.25/hour, if one exists at all.

 

You're not a professional...but you're able to do some administrative task. We'll say data entry, which is huge on Upwork. There's not a lot of work in your local market, and data entry workers in your area earn an average of $.35/hour. So, if you can find work locally, you work full time to make $2.80/day.

 

Then, you discover Upwork. It's the best thing that has ever happened to you and changes your family's life, because you can now earn $1/hour as a data entry worker. The same as a doctor makes in your area! Your weekly income increases from $14/week to $40/week, which is more money than you ever dreamed of making, especially working from home.

 

Then, Upwork decides to set a floor of $3/hour. There are tens of thousands of data entry workers on Upwork, and the main thing you had to set you apart was the fact that you were able to work for $1/hour, while others were charging $2 or $3. Now, you are forced to charge the same price as those other data entry operators. The competition skyrockets. You may not be quite as qualified as the data entry operators who were charged $3/hour before, but your low rate landed you jobs anyway. Now, your theoretical rate is higher, but it doesn't help you at all, because you can no longer find work regularly. Overnight, your new standard of living vanishes forever because you are no longer allowed to take advantage of the key differentiator that was winning you work.


@Tiffany S wrote:

Imagine that you live in a country where professionals such as physicians earn an average of $8/day. Not hour, day. Minimum wage is, say, $.25/hour, if one exists at all.

 

You're not a professional...but you're able to do some administrative task. We'll say data entry, which is huge on Upwork. There's not a lot of work in your local market, and data entry workers in your area earn an average of $.35/hour. So, if you can find work locally, you work full time to make $2.80/day.

 

Then, you discover Upwork. It's the best thing that has ever happened to you and changes your family's life, because you can now earn $1/hour as a data entry worker. The same as a doctor makes in your area! Your weekly income increases from $14/week to $40/week, which is more money than you ever dreamed of making, especially working from home.

 

Then, Upwork decides to set a floor of $3/hour. There are tens of thousands of data entry workers on Upwork, and the main thing you had to set you apart was the fact that you were able to work for $1/hour, while others were charging $2 or $3. Now, you are forced to charge the same price as those other data entry operators. The competition skyrockets. You may not be quite as qualified as the data entry operators who were charged $3/hour before, but your low rate landed you jobs anyway. Now, your theoretical rate is higher, but it doesn't help you at all, because you can no longer find work regularly. Overnight, your new standard of living vanishes forever because you are no longer allowed to take advantage of the key differentiator that was winning you work.


 I didn't know that Upwork's main aim was to  provide comfortable lives to people living in low standard of living countries. Very noble of this company.


@Luce N wrote:


 I didn't know that Upwork's main aim was to  provide comfortable lives to people living in low standard of living countries. Very noble of this company.


 It seems like you've lost the thread (again). Upwork's "main aims" aren't under discussion here. It's well known and acknowledged that Upwork's main aim is to make money, as is wholly appropriate for a business.

 

The question on the board was whether raising the minimum rates allowed hurt people who live in impoverished countries. The answer is yes.

 

That was offered, but you explained that you were unable to grasp why that would be true. I explained.

 

All caught up?


@Tiffany S wrote:

@Luce N wrote:


 I didn't know that Upwork's main aim was to  provide comfortable lives to people living in low standard of living countries. Very noble of this company.


 It seems like you've lost the thread (again). Upwork's "main aims" aren't under discussion here. It's well known and acknowledged that Upwork's main aim is to make money, as is wholly appropriate for a business.

 

The question on the board was whether raising the minimum rates allowed hurt people who live in impoverished countries. The answer is yes.

 

That was offered, but you explained that you were unable to grasp why that would be true. I explained.

 

All caught up?


Tiphany, I may be very dumb but I have noticed that Upwork main's aim is to make money, thank you very much.

I still don't see why Upwork can't raise their minimum wage because it would be too nice for people living in some countries. I thought Upwork was American and would care more about Americans than about people living far away. This thing of  wanting to keep jobs at a minimum of $3 is completely hypocrital as every client has a choice between hourly rate and fixed price. People who can't be generous because it's terrible to hurt doctors' pride can just use fixed price.


@Luce N wrote:

I still don't see why Upwork can't raise their minimum wage because it would be too nice for people living in some countries. I thought Upwork was American and would care more about Americans than about people living far away. This thing of  wanting to keep jobs at a minimum of $3 is completely hypocrital as every client has a choice between hourly rate and fixed price. People who can't be generous because it's terrible to hurt doctors' pride can just use fixed price.


 Once again, I'm sorry that you're having such great difficulty holding on to the thread, but I said nothing about whether Upwork could or should raise the minimum rate. I said that it would hurt people in low-income regions if they did. That's all. I can't think of a way to make it any simpler or clearer for you.

 

It is worth noting, though, that Upwork IS making its decisions based on maximizing its own profits, and obviously has determined that raising the minimum rate above $3//hour would hurt profits, not improve them. That's probably due to the large number of $3 and $4 freelancers who have earned tens of thousands of dollars through the platform.

reinierb
Community Member


@Petra R wrote:

@Luce N wrote:

@Petra R wrote:

@Anthony H wrote:

There are reasons there are minimum wage laws and Upwork's policy of allowing wages as low as $3 per hour is actually pretty disgraceful.


 $ 3 an hour is actually many times the minimum wage in a hell of a lot of countries. So you think it is "disgraceful" to allow people to feed their families by working online for many times more than they could ever hope to earn in their local economy, when such jobs don't affect you either way?

 


 Petra, I'm not so sure that getting a $3 dollars an hour job once in a while allows many people to feed their families. This could just be a myth. Did you read the information about minimum wage in Hong-Kong in the beginning of this thread? I can tell you that having minimum wage in France sucks, people can only survive on minimal wage because the rest of the citizens (taxes) pays for the state to help them survive. In my opinion, paying someone minimum wage when that person deserves more and you  could afford to pay more is unethical. The excuse that it is the minimum wage is a bad excuse.


 When Upwork introduced the $ 3.00 minimum rate the main outrage (by far) was from freelancers in countries where doctors earn less to little more than that because it meant they lost their jobs and yes, with that they lost their ability to feed their families.

 

Whatever we in privileged Western countries think someone "deserves" is irrelevant unless we ourselves are happy to put our own hands in our own pockets and pay them.

 

The alternative to doing data entry from home for $ 3 an hour for so many of those people is not being paid $ 5 an hour, it is being abused in some sweat shop for $ 0.25 an hour and earning less than $ 3 a day, or nothing at all, with no "Social Security" to even things out.

 

Why not let people decide how they want to live and work, rather than taking away their choices altogether?

 

I find it as distasteful as the next person when people in low cost countries are used to create profit for those who are already lucky by priviledge of birth, but when all is said and done my priviledged sensitivities must not result in someone literally being unable to feed their kids becaue I self-righteously declare that I don't want them to earn a living because I want them to earn more when realistically taking away what they are happy with but I don't agree with means they end up with nothing at all...

 

Petra, many, many kudos to you for this post. 

 

However, low minimum wages are not equal to low living costs. While I agree that working for $3 an hour is vastly better than not working for anything, most contributors to this thread are thinking in terms of what a dollar would buy them in the US or Europe, which I surmise, is not much. 

 

The fact is that what a dollar could buy in the US is totally irrelevant to those in the so-called low cost countries. I can only speak for my own country where the newly-introduced minimum wage is 20 Rand per hour, which might sound like lot, but isn't really since at today's rate of exhange, 20 Rand works out to $1.67. 

 

Now, since my local grocery store does not accept US dollars as legal tender, I must pay in my local currency, which as we have seen is not worth much compared to the dollar. So what can my 20 Rand buy? As it turns out, not much. I could for instance buy a loaf of bread for 15.60 Rand, about half a kilogram of potatoes for 18 Rand or so, or about 200 grams of ground beef, without getting any change. 

 

I would not have enough to buy half a gallon of milk, nor would I have enough to buy a luxury item (to about 60% of the population) like a burger-  without fries and a soft drink. 

 

The point of all of this is that people in my country cannot possibly live a comfortable life on a wage of $3 per hour, and I expect that neither can millions of people in so-called low cost countries elsewhere.

 

However, since $3 per hour means the difference between starving and eating maybe once a day for millions of people, I cannot understand why so many people in "rich" countries are so outraged by Upwork's $3 p/h minimum rule, and especially when those rich countries have well developed welfare/social security systems/structures that function as very effective safety nets. 

 

I really wish people would stop thinking in terms of what a dollar would buy in the US, and begin to recognize the fact that there is no such thing as a "low cost" country. Sure, some countries may have a lower overall cost of living than the US, but to be morally ouraged because $3 do not buy much in the US, when those three dollars mean the difference between going to bed hungry, and then to go to work/school still hungry the next day, is just wrong.    

 

 

 


 

Anthony, since we are independent contractors and not employees, minimum wage laws have no application. I'm pretty sure you know what, what with your reported history as a journalist and all. 

 

Minimum wage laws do exist for a reason, and that reason is to protect the lowest-skilled and most vulnerable workers. Rightly or wrongly, U.S. law presumes that the person who has opted to start his or her own business rather than seeking employment is savvy enough, skilled enough, or both to negotiate his or her own rates. 

 

If that isn't the case, probably the person is ill-suited to being a business owner and should instead seek employment.

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