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Human Rights of an Employee Essay

1. Employee

An employee contributes labor and expertise to an endeavor of an employer and is usually hired to perform specific duties which are packaged into a job. In most modern economies, the term “employee” refers to a specific defined relationship between an individual and a corporation, which differs from those of customer or client. Other types of employment are arrangements such as indenturing which is now highly unusual in developed nations but still happens elsewhere.

2. Employer-worker relationship

An employer’s level of power over its workers is dependent upon numerous factors, the most influential being the nature of the contractual relationship between the two. This relationship is affected by three significant factors: interests, control and motivation. It is generally considered the employers’ responsibility to manage and balance these factors in a way that enables a harmonious and productive working relationship. 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 employment relationship.

2.1. Finding employees or employment

The main ways for employers to find workers and for people to find employers are via jobs listings in newspapers and online, also called job boards. Employers and job seekers also often find each other via professional recruitment consultants who receive a commission from the employer to find, screen and select suitable candidates. A study has shown, however, that such consultants may not be reliable when they fail to use established principles in selecting employees.[1]

2.2. Workforce organizing

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.

2.3. Ending employment

Usually, either an employee or employer may end the relationship at any time. This is called 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.

3. Employment contract
3.1. Australia

In Australia there is the controversial Australian Workplace Agreement. In March 2008 a bill was passed in the Austons for workers to be transferred from AWAs into intermediate agreements [2]

3.2. Canada

In the Canadian province of Ontario, formal complaints can be brought to the Ministry of Labor (Ontario). In the province of Quebec, grievances can be filed with the Commission des norms du travail.

3.3. Pakistan

Pakistan has 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, a lot of work has yet to be done to fully implement the Acts.

3.4. India

India has Contract Labor, Minimum Wage and Provident Funds Acts. Contract labour in India must be paid minimum wage and certain facilities are to be provided to labour. However, a lot of work has yet to be done to fully implement the Act.

3.5. Philippines

In the Philippines, private employment is regulated under the Labor Code of the Philippines by the Department of Labor and Employment.

3.6. United States

In the United States, the standard employment relationship is considered to be at-will, meaning that the employer and employee are both free to terminate the employment at any time and for any cause, or for no cause at all. However, if a termination of employment[3] by the employer is deemed unjust by the employee, there can be legal recourse to challenge such a termination. Unjust termination may include termination due to discrimination because of an individual’s race, national origin, sex or gender, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability, religion, or military status. Additional protections apply in some states, for instance in California unjust termination reasons include marital status, ancestry, sexual orientation or medical condition.

Despite whatever agreement an employer makes with an employee for the employee’s wages, an employee is entitled to certain minimum wages set by the federal government. The states may set their own minimum wage that is higher than the federal government’s to ensure a higher standard of living or living wage for their residents. Under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 an employer may not give different wages based on sex alone.[4] 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.[5] In non-union work environments, in the United States, unjust termination complaints can be brought to the United States Department of Labor.

Trade Unions in the United States

In unionized work environments in particular, employees who are receiving discipline, up to and including termination of employment can ask for assistance by their shop steward to advocate on behalf of the employee. If an informal negotiation between the shop steward and the company does not resolve the issue, the shop steward may file a grievance, which can result in a resolution within the company, or mediation or arbitration, which are typically funded equally both by the union and the company. In the US, employment law and, in particular, unionized employees terminating employment varies among companies, unions, and states.

Some states have right to work vs. employment at will and therefore, ending employment can change from state to state. Secondly, different companies have different rules and processes for ending employment. In certain companies and industries they take the 3-step process: written warning, second written, final written and then termination. In addition, different unions have different steps for ending employment. Something that doesn’t change is the stewards and unions protecting their employees with regards to violations of policies. In most all cases, union and stewards will protect their employees even if they feel the employee violated the policy ending to termination.

3.7. Sweden

According to Swedish law,[6] there are three types of employment. * Test employment (swe: Provanställning), where the employer hires a person for a test period of max 6 months. 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. Usually a time limited or normal employment is offered after a test employment. * 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 employee per employer and employee, then it automatically counts as a normal employment. * 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, only 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.

4. Wage labor

Wage labor (or 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.[7][8] 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 labor.

5. Working poor

Employment is no guarantee of escaping poverty, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that as many as 40% of workers as poor, not earning enough to keep their families above the $2 a day poverty line.[9] 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.[9] This problems appears to be caused by the decreasing likelihood of a simultaneous growth in employment opportunities and in labor productivity.[9] 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%.[9]

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.[9] This approach does highlight how higher productivity has helped reduce poverty in East Asia, but the negative impact is beginning to show.[9] In Viet Nam, for example, employment growth has slowed while productivity growth has continued.[9]

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.[9] Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute argue that there are differences across economic sectors in creating employment that reduces poverty.[9] 24 instances of growth were examined, in which 18 reduced poverty. This study showed that other sectors were just as important in reducing unemployment, as manufacturing.[9] The services sector is most effective at translating productivity growth into employment growth.


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