Employer Resources

Although most people require an income, many don't require an employer. Such employer-independence can be achieved by earning recurrent or residual incomes in other ways, e.g., from investments, royalties, grants, gifts and other employer-less income. However, most income-earners work for somebody else or are self-employed. That makes an employer one of the most important, where not the most important, people or organizations in the lives of most people.

As employer, an individual or organization has roles, rights, privileges and duties that define and enable the relationship with those who work for or as them (in the case of the self-employed). Being aware of these, irrespective of which side of the employer-employee transaction one finds oneself, is prudent and responsible.

The U.S.-based top-ten largest employers, in terms of the size of their workforces, tend to be retail giants, such as Walmart, whose 2.1 million employees worldwide rank it first among all private employers. Then there are diversified technology companies like Hewlett-Packard, which employs 324,000 people, globally.

Of course, the smaller the company, the more personal, flexible and casual the workplace relationship is likely to be. In tallying and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of any job, it is important to consider not only the job itself, but also the relationship with the employer who provides it.
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It can be very important to know who or what an employer is when receiving compensation for work, e.g., in connection with what counts as "taxable income", especially in the United States, where goods and services received can be taxed. Apart from the self-employed, an employer is an individual or organization that secures the labor or services of an individual or group in exchange for compensation in the form of pay, wages, and/or other benefits. An employer is most commonly a business that hires employees, or contacted laborers or service providers. It could also be an individual that hires others. Employers may hire for short-term contacts, seasonal work, or indefinite lengths of time, which is the case most of the time when an ongoing business is the employer.

However, those who are self-employed are regarded as the employer in transactions with second parties, e.g., clients who compensate them for their work.

An employer is generally understood to be a company that has regular employees, whether salaried or paid hourly, who work full-time, part-time or both. The employer will often offer benefits to the employees, in addition to wages or salaries, in the form of medical benefits, stock options, reimbursement for continuing education, or other benefits the employer deems appropriate. The employer has either an express or an implied contract with the employee, depending on the terms and conditions of the employment.

Employers have responsibilities toward their employees, both in a legal and a moral sense. Legally speaking, the employer must provide wages or salaries to the employee in return for the labor or service of the employee, as well as providing a safe work environment, both physically and emotionally.

The special case of barter, in which labor is exchanged for goods, services, rights or privileges offered by a second party constitutes a legal, taxation and definitional gray area. According to the U.S. IRS, services or goods received as compensation for work is considered taxable income.

In evaluating any job, it is critical to be comfortable with not only the job description, company products, services and prospects, but also with the employer's ethics, legal standing, dependability, reputation and working relationship with staff, irrespective of whether the employer is an individual or an organization.

A search at a local Better Business Bureau , Chamber of Commerce, employer review sites, or an equivalent is a good place to start in vetting any company as a prospective employer or to get employer perspectives on key labor issues.