Employee vs Supervisor: What's the Difference?

Image Even if you're unfamiliar with their definitions, you've probably heard of the terms "employee" and "supervisor" before. They are used extensively in nearly all industries when referring to various workers. With that said, supervisors don't hold the same positions as employees. To learn more about the difference between an employee and supervisor, keep reading.

Employee vs Supervisor: What's the Difference?

what is career and technical educationWhat Is an Employee?

An employee is a worker who's hired to perform an ongoing job with a fixed schedule by an employer. In the United States, employers are required to provide certain benefits to their employees, some of which includes minimum wage, overtime pay, vacation time, group insurance, sick leave and more.

Employers can also hire workers known as independent contractors, assuming the workers meet a specific criteria and, thus, aren't recognized as employees. In the United States, an employee is a worker with a fixed schedule and whom the employer can control. In comparison, an independent contractor is a worker who controls his or her schedule as well as the type and quantity of work performed.

What Is a Supervisor?

Also known as a foreman or overseer, a supervisor is a worker who performs managerial tasks for an employer. Technically, a supervisor is an employee. Supervisors generally perform regular and ongoing control, which they cannot control, so they are considered employees and not independent contractors. However, supervisors have a specific job -- and that's to perform managerial tasks. If an employee has the authority to manage other employees, he or she is generally considered a supervisor.

Some of the responsibilities of supervisors include the following:
  • Recruit new employees
  • Train new employees and retrain existing employees
  • Dictate tasks to employees
  • Create work schedules for employees
  • Resolve customer complaints
  • Resolve workplace conflicts between two or more employees
  • Order inventory
  • Enforce workplace rules
  • Give instructions to employees

The Bottom Line

An employee is any worker who receives labor protection benefits, whereas a supervisor is a specific type of employee who performs managerial tasks for a business. A supervisor isn't the highest managerial position on the corporate ladder. Nonetheless, they still have the authority to manage a business's employees. As a result, supervisors generally earn more money than non-supervisor employees. Of course, it takes time and hard work to climb the corporate ladder and become a supervisor. But if you put forth the effort, you'll find it's a lucrative and rewarding career.

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