Difference between worker and employee

There are many differences between workers and employees that work together in an organization and the definition of the above terms varies from one continent to another continent.

Who are the Workers? Who are the Employees?

If you work in a company that you don’t own, you have an employment relationship. There are workers. And employees.

Difference between Worker and Employee

Who are the Employees?

Employees take on these tasks

  • Commercial services
  • Higher duties
  • Office work

Employees are:

  • People who work in the office
  • Clerk
  • buyers
  • salesperson
  • Accountant
  • programmer
  • Payroll Clerk
  • Receptionists
  • Ordination aids
  • And many more.

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Who are the Workers?

A worker is a person who carries out a physical activity and earns a living with this activity. The worker in the classic sense is or was often referred to as a factory worker, although the term worker basically includes all physically working people, regardless of where or in what way they do their job. The job performed by a worker is also known as wage labor; contractual arrangements between the employer and the employee, i.e. the worker, serve as the basis for payment. In addition, the term worker represents a term that has been widely used historically and with which the idealized image of the working person has been associated again and again. Workers are for example

  • Worker in the bakery
  • Worker in the butcher shop
  • An employee in a self-service restaurant
  • waiter
  • driver
  • Porters
  • Fitters
  • Warehouse worker
  • handyman
  • Employees in the betting office when they accept betting slips and payout winnings
  • and many more.

Who Are Employees? 

An employee is a person who has a paid job for an employer and is, therefore, an employee according to this definition. The group of employees does not include workers or civil servants. In addition, an employee is not a significant co-owner of the company he works for and receives a monthly salary for his work. Employees are divided into four groups, each of which has different rules on pay, authority, and duties. In contrast to ordinary employees, who are paid according to the collective bargaining agreement, a non-tariff employee receives a higher salary than he is entitled to according to the collective bargaining provisions that apply to him.

Another difference between worker and employee is that a non-tariff employee, in turn, is employed in a company with a collective agreement, however, independently concludes an individual contract with the employer, according to which he is usually paid better than the tariff. The officers finally have broad powers; among other things, he can hire and fire workers. In addition, people without these powers can also be promoted to senior executives if they occupy a corresponding position in the company structure or if they are paid at the level of a senior executive.

 The difference between blue-collar and white-collar workers

Both workers and employees are employees, i.e. people who make their work available to the employer for a fee. The traditional distinction between blue-collar and white-collar workers was important in the past for insurance and similar regulations; In the meantime, however, both groups have largely been adapted to one another and are considered employees in both cases. One criterion for differentiating the two groups is the form of remuneration. While white-collar workers usually receive a fixed monthly salary, in many cases workers are paid on an hourly or piece-wage basis. Piecework wages are also used to pay workers; here the remuneration is calculated according to a standard time for the respective task.

What is the difference between a worker and an employee?

Both blue-collar and white-collar workers are employees, i.e. people who provide their work for a fee. Both groups are now considered employees. But despite the adjustments made by the legislator, the type of activity is not the only difference today. Being a worker or employee has further consequences. The following overview illustrates the differences and similarities.

Right of termination: If the employment contract does not contain any information on the notice period, the uniform statutory notice period of four weeks to the middle of the month or the end of the month applies for blue-collar and white-collar workers. This regulation goes back to Section 622 of the Civil Code. However, there are also cases in which industry-specific collective agreements stipulate the notice period. In the construction industry, for example, deadlines of six to twelve working days are typical. For industrial jobs, the notice period is usually much longer, usually five months.

Pay: In the past, employees generally received a fixed monthly salary. On the other hand, the company usually paid workers hourly or piece wages, but sometimes also a piece-rate wage. In the meantime, this distinction is considered obsolete, because there are usually common collective wage agreements for salaried employees and blue-collar workers or employees.

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Are there any legal differences?

With effect from July 1, 2018, workers and employees will be equated

  • the duration of the continued payment of wages during sick leave and
  • the reasons why the employee is unable to work.

From October 30, 2021, the (currently) notice periods and dates applicable to salaried employees will also apply to blue-collar employment. Deviating collective bargaining regulations should then only be permitted for sectors in which seasonal businesses predominate.

However, different regulations still apply

  • for reasons for early termination,
  • for special payments,
  • in works constitution law (separate workers’ and the salaried employee works for councils) and
  • for the eligibility requirements for disability / occupational disability pensions.



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