Indirect labor

Indirect labor
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Methods and techniques

Indirect labour is a force that is not directly related to production activity and its task is to support it. Among the indirect workforce there are salaries for employees, inspectors or guardians. Indirect labour is one of the elements of the overheads, which also includes indirect expenses and indirect materials[1].

International Capital Market Association defines overhead as "an aggregate of indirect materials, indirect wages and indirect expenses"[2].

It is also important that the work indirectly cannot be directly assigned to a specific product, process or activity. It applies to all employees who are not involved in the process of processing raw materials into the final, finished product [3].

Difference between direct labor and indirect labor[edit]

The difference between indirect work and direct work is that direct work can be assigned to a specific task, machine, worker or product. By contrast, indirect labour is expressed as an element of overheads which have to be included in the cost of production [4].

Direct labor payment methods[edit]

We can distinguish three main methods of direct labour remuneration[5]:

  1. time rate, also called basic salary, is the type of salary an employee receives for the time he has spent at work. Every overtime, e.g. after working hours or on Saturdays or public holidays, is additionally remunerated, e.g. double counting, etc;
  2. piecework rate, which means the remuneration for the amount of e.g. finished finished products, then the employee receives a sum for the amount of products made on a given day, not for the amount of hours that he or she devoted to it;
  3. bonus system is an additional remuneration (in addition to the basic salary) for the performance bonus faster than expected, the prize is then awarded as a percentage of the money saved by the faster performance of the task.


  1. Anbarasu J. (2008),Overhead
  2. Anbarasu J. (2008),Overhead
  3. Elementary Cost Accounting (2019),Basic Cost Concepts
  4. Jain P., Bhati A. (2015), Cost Accounting and Cost Control System in Textile Industry in India, pg. 150-151
  5. Cox D. (2016),Management Accounting: Costing Tutorial, pg. 66


Author: Julia Kręcioch