Employment is a relationship between two parties, usually based on a
contract where work is paid for, where one party, which may be a
corporation, for profit, not-for-profit organization, co-operative or
other entity is the employer and the other is the employee.
Employees work in return for payment, which may be in the form of an
hourly wage, by piecework or an annual salary, depending on the type
of work an employee does or which sector she or he is working in.
Employees in some fields or sectors may receive gratuities, bonus
payment or stock options. In some types of employment, employees may
receive benefits in addition to payment. Benefits can include health
insurance, housing, disability insurance or use of a gym. Employment
is typically governed by employment laws, regulations or legal
1 Employees and employers
2 Employer–worker relationship
2.1 Finding employees or employment
Training and development
2.5 Organizational justice
2.7 Ending employment
4.7 United Kingdom
4.8 United States
5 Age-related issues
5.1 Younger age workers
5.2 Older age workers
6 Working poor
7 Models of the employment relationship
8 Academic literature
Globalization and employment relations
10.2 Postsecondary education
10.5 Social assistance
10.7 Indentured servitude and slavery
11 See also
12 Notes and references
14 External links
Employees and employers
Further information: List of largest employers, List of professions,
An employee contributes labor and expertise to an endeavor of an
employer or of a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)
and is usually hired to perform specific duties which are packaged
into a job. In a corporate context, an employee is a person who is
hired to provide services to a company on a regular basis in exchange
for compensation and who does not provide these services as part of an
Employer and managerial control within an organization rests at many
levels and has important implications for staff and productivity
alike, with control forming the fundamental link between desired
outcomes and actual processes. Employers must balance interests such
as decreasing wage constraints with a maximization of labor
productivity in order to achieve a profitable and productive
Finding employees or employment
The main ways for employers to find workers and for people to find
employers are via jobs listings in newspapers (via classified
advertising) and online, also called job boards. Employers and job
seekers also often find each other via professional recruitment
consultants which receive a commission from the employer to find,
screen and select suitable candidates. However, a study has shown that
such consultants may not be reliable when they fail to use established
principles in selecting employees. A more traditional approach is
with a "
Help Wanted" sign in the establishment (usually hung on a
window or door or placed on a store counter). Evaluating
different employees can be quite laborious but setting up different
techniques to analyze their skill to measure their talents within the
field can be best through assessments.
Employer and potential
employee commonly take the additional step of getting to know each
other through the process of job interview.
Training and development
Training and development refers to the employer's effort to equip a
newly hired employee with necessary skills to perform at the job, and
to help the employee grow within the organization. An appropriate
level of training and development helps to improve employee's job
There are many ways that employees are paid, including by hourly
wages, by piecework, by yearly salary, or by gratuities (with the
latter often being combined with another form of payment). In sales
jobs and real estate positions, the employee may be paid a commission,
a percentage of the value of the goods or services that they have
sold. In some fields and professions (e.g., executive jobs), employees
may be eligible for a bonus if they meet certain targets. Some
executives and employees may be paid in stocks or stock options, a
compensation approach that has the added benefit, from the company's
point of view, of helping to align the interests of the compensated
individual with the performance of the company.
Employee benefits are various non-wage compensation provided to
employee in addition to their wages or salaries. The benefits can
include: housing (employer-provided or employer-paid), group insurance
(health, dental, life etc.), disability income protection, retirement
benefits, daycare, tuition reimbursement, sick leave, vacation (paid
and non-paid), social security, profit sharing, funding of education,
and other specialized benefits. In some cases, such as with workers
employed in remote or isolated regions, the benefits may include
Employee benefits can improve the relationship between employee
and employer and lowers staff turnover.
Organizational justice is an employee's perception and judgement of
employer's treatment in the context of fairness or justice. The
resulting actions to influence the employee-employer relationship is
also a part of organizational justice.
Employees can organize into trade or labor unions, which represent the
work force to collectively bargain with the management of
organizations about working, and contractual conditions and
Usually, either an employee or employer may end the relationship at
any time, often subject to a certain notice period. This is referred
to as at-will employment. The contract between the two parties
specifies the responsibilities of each when ending the relationship
and may include requirements such as notice periods, severance pay,
and security measures. In some professions, notably teaching, civil
servants, university professors, and some orchestra jobs, some
employees may have tenure, which means that they cannot be dismissed
at will. Another type of termination is a layoff.
Worker assembling rebar for a water treatment plant in Mazatlan,
Wage labor is the socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an
employer, where the worker sells their labor under a formal or
informal employment contract. These transactions usually occur in a
labor market where wages are market determined. In exchange for
the wages paid, the work product generally becomes the
undifferentiated property of the employer, except for special cases
such as the vesting of intellectual property patents in the United
States where patent rights are usually vested in the original personal
inventor. A wage laborer is a person whose primary means of income is
from the selling of his or her labor in this way.
In modern mixed economies such as that of the
OECD countries, it is
currently the dominant form of work arrangement. Although most work
occurs following this structure, the wage work arrangements of CEOs,
professional employees, and professional contract workers are
sometimes conflated with class assignments, so that "wage labor" is
considered to apply only to unskilled, semi-skilled or manual
Main article: Labour economics
Wage labor, as institutionalized under today's market economic
systems, has been criticized, especially by both mainstream
socialists and anarcho-syndicalists, using the
pejorative term wage slavery. Socialists draw parallels
between the trade of labor as a commodity and slavery.
Cicero is also
known to have suggested such parallels.
The American philosopher
John Dewey posited that until "industrial
feudalism" is replaced by "industrial democracy", politics will be
"the shadow cast on society by big business". Thomas Ferguson has
postulated in his investment theory of party competition that the
undemocratic nature of economic institutions under capitalism causes
elections to become occasions when blocs of investors coalesce and
compete to control the state.
Australian employment has been governed by the
Fair Work Act since
Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) is
an association of national level with its international reputation of
co-operation and welfare of the migrant workforce as well as its
approximately 1200 members agencies in collaboration with and support
from the Government of Bangladesh.
In the Canadian province of Ontario, formal complaints can be brought
to the Ministry of Labour. In the province of Quebec, grievances can
be filed with the Commission des normes du travail.
Contract Labor, Minimum
Wage and Provident Funds Acts.
Contract labor in
Pakistan must be paid minimum wage and certain
facilities are to be provided to labor. However, the Acts are not yet
Contract Labor, Minimum Wage, Provident Funds Act and
various other acts to comply with.
Contract labor in
India must be
paid minimum wage and certain facilities are to be provided to labor.
However, there is still a large amount of work that remains to be done
to fully implement the Act.
In the Philippines, employment is regulated by the Department of Labor
In the United Kingdom, employment contracts are categorised by the
government into the following types:
Fixed-term contract: last for a certain length of time, are set in
advance, end when a specific task is completed, ends when a specific
event takes place.
Full-time or part-time contract: has no defined length of time, can be
terminated by either party, is to accomplish a specific task,
specified number of hours.
Freelancers, Consultants and Contractors
United States labor law,
List of largest employers in the
United States, and Labor unions in the United States
All employees, private industries, by branches
For purposes of U.S. federal income tax withholding, 26 U.S.C. §
3401(c) provides a definition for the term "employee" specific to
chapter 24 of the Internal Revenue Code:
"For purposes of this chapter, the term “employee” includes an
officer, employee, or elected official of the United States, a State,
or any political subdivision thereof, or the District of Columbia, or
any agency or instrumentality of any one or more of the foregoing. The
term “employee” also includes an officer of a corporation."
This definition does not exclude all those who are commonly known as
'employees'. “Similarly, Latham’s instruction which indicated that
under 26 U.S.C. § 3401(c) the category of ‘employee’ does not
include privately employed wage earners is a preposterous reading of
the statute. It is obvious that within the context of both statutes
the word ‘includes’ is a term of enlargement not of limitation,
and the reference to certain entities or categories is not intended to
exclude all others.”
Employees are often contrasted with independent contractors,
especially when there is dispute as to the worker's entitlement to
have matching taxes paid, workers compensation, and unemployment
insurance benefits. However, in September 2009, the court case of
Brown v. J. Kaz, Inc. ruled that independent contractors are regarded
as employees for the purpose of discrimination laws if they work for
the employer on a regular basis, and said employer directs the time,
place, and manner of employment.
In non-union work environments, in the United States, unjust
termination complaints can be brought to the
United States Department
Labor unions are legally recognized as representatives of workers in
many industries in the United States. Their activity today centers on
collective bargaining over wages, benefits, and working conditions for
their membership, and on representing their members in disputes with
management over violations of contract provisions. Larger unions also
typically engage in lobbying activities and electioneering at the
state and federal level.
Most unions in America are aligned with one of two larger umbrella
AFL-CIO created in 1955, and the Change to Win
Federation which split from the
AFL-CIO in 2005. Both advocate
policies and legislation on behalf of workers in the
United States and
Canada, and take an active role in politics. The
AFL-CIO is especially
concerned with global trade issues.
According to Swedish law, there are three types of employment.
Test employment (swe: Provanställning), where the employer hires a
person for a test period of 6 months maximum. The employment can be
ended at any time without giving any reason. This type of employment
can be offered only once per employer and employee combination.
Usually a time limited or normal employment is offered after a test
Time limited employment (swe: Tidsbegränsad anställning). The
employer hires a person for a specified time. Usually they are
extended for a new period. Total maximum two years per employer and
employee combination, then it automatically counts as a normal
Normal employment (swe: Tillsvidareanställning / Fast anställning),
which has no time limit (except for retirement etc.). It can still be
ended for two reasons: personal reason, immediate end of employment
only for strong reasons such as crime, or lack of work tasks (swe:
Arbetsbrist), cancellation of employment, usually because of bad
income for the company. There is a cancellation period of 1–6
months, and rules for how to select employees, basically those with
shortest employment time shall be cancelled first.
There are no laws about minimum salary in Sweden. Instead there are
agreements between employer organizations and trade unions about
minimum salaries, and other employment conditions.
There is a type of employment contract which is common but not
regulated in law, and that is Hour employment (swe: Timanställning),
which can be Normal employment (unlimited), but the work time is
unregulated and decided per immediate need basis. The employee is
expected to be answering the phone and come to work when needed, e.g.
when someone is ill and absent from work. They will receive salary
only for actual work time and can in reality be fired for no reason by
not being called anymore. This type of contract is common in the
Younger age workers
Youth employment rate in the US, i.e. the ratio of employed persons
(15–24Y) in an economy to total labor force (15–24Y). 
Main article: Young worker safety and health
Young workers are at higher risk for occupational injury and face
certain occupational hazards at a higher rate; this is generally due
to their employment in high-risk industries. For example, in the
United States, young people are injured at work at twice the rate of
their older counterparts. These workers are also at higher risk
for motor vehicle accidents at work, due to less work experience, a
lower use of seatbelts, and higher rates of distracted
driving. To mitigate this risk, those under the age of 17 are
restricted from certain types of driving, including transporting
people and goods under certain circumstances.
High-risk industries for young workers include agriculture,
restaurants, waste management, and mining. In the United
States, those under the age of 18 are restricted from certain jobs
that are deemed dangerous under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Youth employment programs are most effective when they include both
theoretical classroom training and hands-on training with work
In the conversation of employment among younger aged workers, youth
unemployment has also been monitored.
Youth unemployment rates tend to
be higher than the adult rates in every country in the world. 
Older age workers
Those older than the statutory defined retirement age may continue to
work, either out of enjoyment or necessity. However, depending on the
nature of the job, older workers may need to transition into
less-physical forms of work to avoid injury. Working past retirement
age also has positive effects, because it gives a sense of purpose and
allows people to maintain social networks and activity levels.
Older workers are often found to be discriminated against by
Worker, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Employment is no guarantee of escaping poverty, the International
Organization (ILO) estimates that as many as 40% of workers are
poor, not earning enough to keep their families above the $2 a day
poverty line. For instance, in
India most of the chronically poor
are wage earners in formal employment, because their jobs are insecure
and low paid and offer no chance to accumulate wealth to avoid
risks. According to the UNRISD, increasing labor productivity
appears to have a negative impact on job creation: in the 1960s, a 1%
increase in output per worker was associated with a reduction in
employment growth of 0.07%, by the first decade of this century the
same productivity increase implies reduced employment growth by
0.54%. Both increased employment opportunities and increased labor
productivity (as long as it also translates into higher wages) are
needed to tackle poverty. Increases in employment without increases in
productivity leads to a rise in the number of "working poor", which is
why some experts are now promoting the creation of "quality" and not
"quantity" in labor market policies. This approach does highlight
how higher productivity has helped reduce poverty in East Asia, but
the negative impact is beginning to show. In Vietnam, for example,
employment growth has slowed while productivity growth has
continued. Furthermore, productivity increases do not always lead
to increased wages, as can be seen in the United States, where the gap
between productivity and wages has been rising since the 1980s.
Researchers at the
Overseas Development Institute argue that there are
differences across economic sectors in creating employment that
reduces poverty. 24 instances of growth were examined, in which 18
reduced poverty. This study showed that other sectors were just as
important in reducing unemployment, such as manufacturing. The
services sector is most effective at translating productivity growth
into employment growth.
Agriculture provides a safety net for jobs and
economic buffer when other sectors are struggling.
Growth, employment and poverty
Growth episodes associated with falling poverty rates
Growth episodes associated with no fall in poverty rates
Models of the employment relationship
Scholars conceptualize the employment relationship in various
ways. A key assumption is the extent to which the employment
relationship necessarily includes conflicts of interests between
employers and employees, and the form of such conflicts. In
economic theorizing, the labor market mediates all such conflicts such
that employers and employees who enter into an employment relationship
are assumed to find this arrangement in their own self-interest. In
human resource management theorizing, employers and employees are
assumed to have shared interests (or a unity of interests, hence the
label “unitarism”). Any conflicts that exist are seen as a
manifestation of poor human resource management policies or
interpersonal clashes such as personality conflicts, both of which can
and should be managed away. From the perspective of pluralist
industrial relations, the employment relationship is characterized by
a plurality of stakeholders with legitimate interests (hence the label
“pluralism), and some conflicts of interests are seen as inherent in
the employment relationship (e.g., wages v. profits). Lastly, the
critical paradigm emphasizes antagonistic conflicts of interests
between various groups (e.g., the competing capitalist and working
classes in a Marxist framework) that are part of a deeper social
conflict of unequal power relations. As a result, there are four
common models of employment:
Mainstream economics: employment is seen as a mutually advantageous
transaction in a free market between self-interested legal and
Human resource management
Human resource management (unitarism): employment is a long-term
partnership of employees and employers with common interests
Pluralist industrial relations: employment is a bargained exchange
between stakeholders with some common and some competing economic
interests and unequal bargaining power due to imperfect labor
Critical industrial relations: employment is an unequal power relation
between competing groups that is embedded in and inseparable from
systemic inequalities throughout the socio-politico-economic system.
These models are important because they help reveal why individuals
hold differing perspectives on human resource management policies,
labor unions, and employment regulation. For example, human
resource management policies are seen as dictated by the market in the
first view, as essential mechanisms for aligning the interests of
employees and employers and thereby creating profitable companies in
the second view, as insufficient for looking out for workers’
interests in the third view, and as manipulative managerial tools for
shaping the ideology and structure of the workplace in the fourth
Literature on the employment impact of economic growth and on how
growth is associated with employment at a macro, sector and industry
level was aggregated in 2013.
Researchers found evidence to suggest growth in manufacturing and
services have good impact on employment. They found GDP growth on
employment in agriculture to be limited, but that value-added growth
had a relatively larger impact. The impact on job creation by
industries/economic activities as well as the extent of the body of
evidence and the key studies. For extractives, they again found
extensive evidence suggesting growth in the sector has limited impact
on employment. In textiles however, although evidence was low, studies
suggest growth there positively contributed to job creation. In
agri-business and food processing, they found impact growth to be
They found that most available literature focuses on
middle-income countries somewhat, where economic growth impact has
been shown to be positive on employment. The researchers didn't find
sufficient evidence to conclude any impact of growth on employment in
LDCs despite some pointing to the positive impact, others point to
limitations. They recommended that complementary policies are
necessary to ensure economic growth's positive impact on LDC
employment. With trade, industry and investment, they only found
limited evidence of positive impact on employment from industrial and
investment policies and for others, while large bodies of evidence
does exist, the exact impact remains contested.
Researchers have also explored the relationship between employment and
illicit activities. Using evidence from Africa, a research team found
that a program for Liberian ex-fighters reduced work hours on illicit
activities. The employment program also reduced interest in mercenary
work in nearby wars. The study concludes that while the use of capital
inputs or cash payments for peaceful work created a reduction in
illicit activities, the impact of training alone is rather low.
Globalization and employment relations
The balance of economic efficiency and social equity is the ultimate
debate in the field of employment relations. By meeting the needs
of the employer; generating profits to establish and maintain economic
efficiency; whilst maintaining a balance with the employee and
creating social equity that benefits the worker so that he/she can
fund and enjoy healthy living; proves to be a continuous revolving
issue in westernized societies.
Globalization has effected these issues by creating certain economic
factors that disallow or allow various employment issues. Economist
Edward Lee (1996) studies the effects of globalization and summarizes
the four major points of concern that affect employment relations:
International competition, from the newly industrialized countries,
will cause unemployment growth and increased wage disparity for
unskilled workers in industrialized countries. Imports from low-wage
countries exert pressure on the manufacturing sector in industrialized
countries and foreign direct investment (FDI) is attracted away from
the industrialized nations, towards low-waged countries.
Economic liberalization will result in unemployment and wage
inequality in developing countries. This happens as job losses in
uncompetitive industries outstrip job opportunities in new industries.
Workers will be forced to accept worsening wages and conditions, as a
global labor market results in a “race to the bottom”. Increased
international competition creates a pressure to reduce the wages and
conditions of workers.
Globalization reduces the autonomy of the nation state. Capital is
increasingly mobile and the ability of the state to regulate economic
activity is reduced.
What also results from Lee’s (1996) findings is that in
industrialized countries an average of almost 70 per cent of workers
are employed in the service sector, most of which consists of
non-tradable activities. As a result, workers are forced to become
more skilled and develop sought after trades, or find other means of
survival. Ultimately this is a result of changes and trends of
employment, an evolving workforce, and globalization that is
represented by a more skilled and increasing highly diverse labor
force, that are growing in non standard forms of employment (Markey,
R. et al. 2006).
Various youth subcultures have been associated with not working, such
as the hippie subculture in the 1960s and 1970s (which endorsed the
idea of "dropping out" of society) and the punk subculture, in which
some members live in anarchist squats (illegal housing).
One of the alternatives to work is engaging in postsecondary education
at a college, university or professional school. One of the major
costs of obtaining a postsecondary education is the opportunity cost
of forgone wages due to not working. At times when jobs are hard to
find, such as during recessions, unemployed individuals may decide to
get postsecondary education, because there is less of an opportunity
Workplace democracy is the application of democracy in all its forms
(including voting systems, debates, democratic structuring, due
process, adversarial process, systems of appeal) to the
When an individual entirely owns the business for which they labor,
this is known as self-employment.
Self-employment often leads to
incorporation. Incorporation offers certain protections of one's
personal assets. Individuals who are self-employed may own a small
business. They may also be considered to be an entrepreneur.
In some countries, individuals who are not working can receive social
assistance support (e.g., welfare or food stamps) to enable them to
rent housing, buy food, repair or replace household goods, maintenance
of children and observe social customs that require financial
Workers who are not paid wages, such as volunteers who perform tasks
for charities, hospitals or not-for-profit organizations, are
generally not considered employed. One exception to this is an
internship, an employment situation in which the worker receives
training or experience (and possibly college credit) as the chief form
Indentured servitude and slavery
Those who work under obligation for the purpose of fulfilling a debt,
such as an indentured servant, or as property of the person or entity
they work for, such as a slave, do not receive pay for their services
and are not considered employed. Some historians suggest that slavery
is older than employment, but both arrangements have existed for all
recorded history. Indentured servitude and slavery are not considered
compatible with human rights and democracy.
Alternative employment arrangements
Equal opportunity employment
Equal pay for equal work
List of largest employers
Lump of labor fallacy
Protestant work ethic
Reserve army of labor
Reserve army of labor (Marxism)
The End of Work
Notes and references
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most significant definitions are 'person conducting a business or
undertaking' (PCBU). 'worker' and 'workplace'. [...] 'PCBU' is a wider
ranging term than 'employer', though this will be what most people
understand by it.
^ a b Robert A. Ristau (2010). Intro to Business. Cengage Learning.
p. 74. ISBN 0538740663.
J. Mayhew Wainwright
J. Mayhew Wainwright (chairman); et al. (1910). Report to the
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Chapter 518 of the laws of 1909 to inquire into the question of
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^ a b Deakin & Wilkinson 2005.
^ a b c Marx 1847, Chapter 2.
^ a b c d Ellerman 1992.
^ a b c d Ostergaard 1997, p. 133.
^ Thompson 1966, p. 599.
^ Thompson 1966, p. 912.
^ a b c Lazonick 1990, p. 37.
^ "wage slave". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
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^ "...vulgar are the means of livelihood of all hired workmen whom we
pay for mere manual labour, not for artistic skill; for in their case
the very wage they receive is a pledge of their slavery." – De
^ "As long as politics is the shadow cast on society by big business,
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^ Budd, John W. and Bhave, Devasheesh (2008) "Values, Ideologies, and
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^ Befort, Stephen F. and Budd, John W. (2009) Invisible Hands,
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Look up employee or employment in Wiktionary, the free
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Employment.
"Business Link". Businesslink.gov.uk. Archived from the original on
"Labor and Employment". Government Information Library.
Colorado at Boulder.
"Overview and topics of labour statistics". Statistics and databases.
International Labour Organization.
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Personality-job fit theory
Simultaneous recruiting of new graduates
Career and training
Continuing professional development
Initial Professional Development
Practice-based professional learning
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Leave of absence
Long service leave
No call, no show
Workweek and weekend
Wages and salaries
National average salary
Paid time off
Safety and health
Epilepsy and employment
Human factors and ergonomics
Occupational exposure limit
Occupational health psychology
Repetitive strain injury
Sick building syndrome
Equal pay for women
Gender pay gap
Sleeping while on duty
Refusal of work
Employee exit management
Letter of resignation
Barriers to Employment
Recession job losses
List of recessions
Reserve army of labor
Types of unemployment
See also templates
Aspects of corporations
Aspects of jobs
Aspects of occupations
Aspects of organizations
Aspects of workplaces
Aspects of capitalism (academic views)
History of capitalist theory
Culture of capitalism
Rule of law
Freedom of association
Labor market flexibility
Social venture capital
Aspects of workplaces
Culture of fear
Divide and rule
Fit in or fuck off
Kick the cat
Kiss up kick down
Queen bee syndrome
Safety and health
Aspects of corporations
Aspects of jobs
Aspects of occupations
Aspects of organizations