What is an Employee ?


An employee is an individual hired by a company or organization to perform specific duties in exchange for compensation, typically in the form of a salary or hourly wage.

The relationship between an employee and an employer is formalized through an employment contract, which outlines the terms of employment, including job responsibilities, compensation, and work hours.

Employment Terms and Benefits

  • Negotiated Terms: Employees typically negotiate their salary, working hours, and other terms of employment, such as job responsibilities and location.
  • Benefits: Employees often receive additional benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, paid vacation, and sick leave.

Legal and Tax Considerations

  • Classification Standards: The IRS defines an employee based on control over finances, behavior, and the nature of the business relationship, including a formal contract and benefits.
  • Tax Obligations: Employees have income taxes withheld from their compensation and share the responsibility of paying employment taxes with their employer.

Types of Employee Status

Employees can be classified as exempt, non-exempt, temporary, part-time, or full-time, each with specific responsibilities and employment terms.

Employee vs. Employer Relationship

  • Employer's Role: Employers hire employees, manage financial risks, and have control over work assignments and operations.
  • Hiring and Management Process: Employers, often through their HR departments, handle recruitment, interviewing, onboarding, and managing employee performance.
  • Legal Responsibilities: Employers must comply with labor laws, including minimum wage standards, tax withholding, and providing a safe work environment.

Employee vs. Contractor

  • Independent Contractors: Unlike employees, independent contractors are self-employed individuals who offer their services under their own terms.
  • Control and Independence: Contractors have more control over their work, including schedules and methods, and handle their own tax payments.
  • Growing Trends: With the rise of globalization, remote work, and the gig economy, the distinction between employees and contractors is increasingly important for companies to understand.