What is an employer?

Updated on November 3, 2023

  1. OnPay
  2. Payroll Software
  3. Terms and Definitions
  4. Employer

Employer definition and meaning

An employer is a company, organization, or entity that hires and pays one or more employees a regular wage for work performed.


More about employers

Employers are legally responsible to withhold and remit payroll taxes and other withholdings from their employee’s wages. Employers use Form W-4 to collect employee information for these filings, and are, in turn, required to provide each employee with a Form W-2 detailing their income, withholdings, and deductions for each calendar year in which they’re employed. Employers usually have complete control over the work that their employees perform, as well as how and where their work is to be performed.


In addition to withholding and remitting taxes on behalf of employees, employers are also required to pay additional employment taxes. Most of the time, an external vendor will be used during the payroll process to avoid issues or errors. An employer also has a number of obligations related to the health, safety, and wellbeing of employees — such as carrying workers’ compensation insurance in some jurisdictions.

Using employer in a sentence

“We hired one part-time cashier for the weekends, and like that, I went from business owner to employer.”



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