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What Is an Employee?

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Male waiter in a restaurant

An Employee Is Paid for Work Done for an Employer

Copyright Michael Blann / Getty Images

Definition:

An employee is an individual who was hired by an employer to do a specific job. The employee is hired by the employer after an application and interview process results in his or her selection as an employee.

The terms of an individual’s employment are specified by an offer letter, an employment contract, or verbally. In workplaces represented by a union, the collective bargaining agreement covers most aspects of an employee’s relationship with the workplace.

An employee works part-time, full time or is temporary.

An employee barters his or her skills, knowledge, experience, and contribution in exchange for compensation from an employer. An employee is either exempt from overtime or not exempt from overtime; the rules about paying an employee are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Each employee has a specific job to accomplish that is often defined by a job description. In responsible organizations, a performance development planning process defines the work of the employee and the organization’s expectation’s for the employee’s performance.

An employee works within a functional area or department such as marketing or Human Resources. An employee has a boss, the person he or she reports to and takes direction from, usually a manager or supervisor. The employee has a work station or office in which he or she accomplishes the job. The employer supplies the employee with the tools and equipment necessary to perform work such as a computer, telephone, and supplies.

In forward thinking organizations, the employee receives frequent performance feedback from the employer, rewards and recognition, and a reasonable benefits package. Although most employment relationships are at-will, the employee who performs the job successfully is likely, although not guaranteed, to keep the job.

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Alternate Spellings: employe (agreed upon spelling in some companies)

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