Obligations of Employers

The relationship between employers and employees can be a complicated one. The type and size of the company someone works for can heavily influence the experience they have there. Some companies operate with a such a tall management hierarchy that many times regular employees many never even meet their CEO face to face. Asking what responsibilities, if any, these heads of companies have can be challenging. Legally speaking, the obligations employers typically have other than paying their workers end at keeping a safe and healthy workplace. However, can we say that employers are responsible for more?

Recently Apple was criticized upon the opening of their new head quarters for having no space devoted to child care such as a daycare center. Many critics pointed to the the fact that this may be an expression of their true company values, which don’t include a work life balance and therefore don’t include family time. This raises the question, should employers care about their employees life outside of work, whatever it may include, and do they have some kind of obligation to care? Some study’s have suggested that creating an environment that is focused on employee welfare leads to more productive employees. Google may be one of the best examples of this, offering their employees everything from endless free snacks and meals, rewarding employees with free massages, giving free transportation to and from work, and giving new mothers 3 times the average paid time off and new fathers time off as well. However all of these benefits are seen as perks of working for Google, and not anything we would expect or demand an employer to offer.

What obligations do companies have to their employees? To what extent should companies or managers be accountable for the mental and physical welfare of their employees? What services or programs, like health care, child care, and time/space for mental and physical wellness, should companies and employers be responsible for providing to their employees?