Difference Between Duties and Obligations

Duties vs Obligations

The main difference between duty and obligation is that duty basically comes from legal or moral needs, while an obligation arises from a set of norms that focuses on maintaining the order that is assigned to a person.  In the professional environment, both are usually applied mutually. However, there are many acknowledging differences between both terms.

Duties vs Obligations

A duty is actually a moral or legal right. The key of the term duty is technically the same as due, but wholly, it is clarified as being what’s due from a person as a person, when born, to a fellow person.

On the other hand, obligation refers to a particular thing that has to be performed despite the fact we like it or not. It has to be fulfilled as they are mentioned and can’t be ignored if someone belongs or lives in a society.

Comparison Table Between Duties and Obligations

Parameters of ComparisonDutiesObligation
DefinitionThe time period spent in doing a task or spent at work.Legal or moral that compels a person to avoid or follow a particular action.
NatureCannot be compelled by others.Can be compelled by others.
Rules and regulationsA person isn’t bound to follow any compulsory.The person is bound to follow them compulsory.
Relationship statusNon-contractual.Contractual.
ExampleA government tax on exports or imports.Written obligation on things like checks, stamps, banknotes etc.

What are Duties?

The term duty underlines morality sense that it lets a person be in some activity. It is the control that accompanies the individual and is not compelled by others.

The presence of norms and regulations can’t be seen in the case of duty. It can be seen as an individual expectation or societal demand. Duty is basically a sense of performing things in the appropriate manner that leads to action.

Duties can approach from the following sources:

  1. As an outcome of a person’s character
  2. As an outcome of a person’s self-morality, presumptions for oneself
  3. As an outcome of a person’s specific place in life
  4. As an outcome of a person being a human

With consideration to source, a duty is an ideal behaviour stimulated by principles of agreement justice. These duties form a behavioural authority; above and over the agreement, a substructure into which the contract fits.

The zone enclosed by duties is broader than that of obligations. The dissimilarity is in the certainty appealed in English law to illustrate the duty of confidentiality.

What are Obligations?

When understanding the word obligation, you can define it as something that an individual must do due to a law, agreement, etc. So, he is bound to finish a task or involve in work because of some terms and conditions.

A person is obliged to involve in many activities in different contexts. Specifically, in the corporate world, obligation holds a strong meaning, like, in the case of newly assigned aspirants.

This agreement involves many duties and job description to which the working employee had to adhere. This can be seen as an obligation after the agreement signing where the person performs many tasks.

It isn’t mortality that attracts employees to do work, but the norms and rules. This underlines that, in an obligation, a person isn’t motivated but compelled for task execution.

There are three kinds of obligations, namely social, written and political. Social obligation is for the thing we as a person accept as it is collected. Written obligations are the agreements.

Main Differences Between Duties and Obligations

  1. One fulfils a duty if and only a person desires so, while obligations aren’t subjected to a person’s wish but are needed to be fulfilled anyway.
  2. A duty may or may not be term bounded, while an obligation is generally term bounded and comes with other rules and regulations.
Difference Between Duties and Obligations


Duty and obligation have their own place in an employee’s world. An employee owns a moral obligation in being loyal towards his employer, apply his skills and knowledge to meet the aims set for him and do the job he is being paid for. According to the compact law, the ideal duty of honesty has been put up as prevalent among all scenarios.

When a worker plans to resign from his job, it is required by him to provide proper notice to his seniors to avoid disturbances in management. The moral obligations of a worker stretch to interaction with fellow employees as well as customers. He must behave with respect and consideration with all and should also maintain all proper professional ethics in the work he is in.

On the other hand, when it comes to an obligation, a worker is legally obligated to complete all the contractual boundaries towards a business. If an employee signs an agreement to serve for a particular period, he is bounded or obligated to work for the term mentioned in the contract.

He is also bound to do his job without fragmenting the laws mentioned in the agreement. The senior or the employer has the authority to implement legal formats if his employee violates any legal obligations from the agreement.


  1. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9781400853977.130/html
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/colhr32&section=19
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