What are My Responsibilities to Employees as an Employer?

Employer and Employee Responsibilities to Each Other

Employer Responsibilities to Employees
Employer Responsibilities to Employees. Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

Your Responsibilities as an Employer

When you hire your first employees, you have some responsibilities to that employee, and to all future employees, relating to compensation. These responsibilities are codified under federal laws:

Paying Employees 

You must pay at least the minimum wage (unless the employee receives tips or is somehow not subject to minimum wage.

Unless an employee is categorized as exempt (managerial, professional, and supervisory employees), you must pay overtime at 1 1/2 times hourly pay, for all hours worked over 40 in any week.If the employee is exempt and he or she is paid under a specific amount, you must pay that exempt employee overtime. 

Reporting to Employees

Along with each paycheck, you must provide employees with a statement showing gross pay, deductions and withholding, and net pay for the pay period and the year to date.

You must provide employees with a yearly statement of earnings, withholding, and deductions, no later than the end of January of the next year. This statement is a W-2 Statement of Earnings.

Some states have more strict requirements for paying employees. Check with your state labor department for more on your state's labor laws.

Some Additional Responsibilities to Employees

When the employee leaves or is terminated, you must pay a final paycheck as soon as possible, but no longer than 30 days after termination (some states require more prompt payment).

If you have 50 or more employees, under the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act, you must give employees time off for sickness, disability, or family leave.

You must provide all workers with a safe, healthy place in which to work, under the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). This law applies to all employers. The Department of Labor has quite a long list of employer responsibilities under OSHA. And this is only a "summary of key provisions." 

Under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers have responsibilities that include: 

  • equal opportunity in selecting, testing, and hiring qualified applicants with disabilities;
  • job accommodation for applicants and workers with disabilities when such accommodations would not impose "undue hardship;" and
  • equal opportunity in promotion and benefits.

Employee Responsibilities to Employers

Wait a minute! This responsibility thing works both ways. What about responsibilities that employees have to you as their employer? Your employees have a responsibility to: 

  • Obedience. Obeying rules, policies, and - most important - work directions and commands, is a basic part of what it means to be an employee. 

  • Dealing honestly with the employer, not lying or stealing from the employer. That includes honestly representing himself/herself on an employment application. 

  • Work with reasonable care and skill, at the job assigned, during the time required. In other words, giving full value of the time for which the employee is being paid.

  • Not to disclose confidential employer information to others.

  • To disclose any possible conflict of interest, such as work for a competitor or a relationship that could compromise the employer. 

  • Care for the employer's property, equipment, and facilities. Sure, it's probably okay to check personal email while at work, but spending work time reading trashy novels isn't being honest or giving full value 

Responsibilities to Employees - State Provisions

Each U.S. state has different provisions reflecting responsibilities to employees. Check with your state's department of labor (or similar title) for more information. 

Putting esponsibilities ion Writing

You have all these responsibilities to employees, so why not get credit for them? Include your responsibilities in your employee handbook, along with other policies and procedures. 

Write a section of your handbook that describes these responsibilities, and include responsibilities employees have to you as their employer.