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The HR Specialist: Compensation and Benefits

A survey shows that 83% of Americans believe the condition of a workplace restroom is one indicator of how an employer values its workforce.

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The IRS has announced that the amount employees can defer on a pretax basis into 401(k) accounts goes up to $17,500 in 2013.

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President Obama’s re-election ensured that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health care reform law will remain in effect. That means the nature of health insurance benefits will change dramatically by 2014, and HR executives have some huge decisions to make about their options.

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How can you ensure that the IRS or state authorities won’t challenge the status of workers you call contractors? And how can you avoid being sued by a contractor who claims he’s an em­­ployee entitled to benefits? Follow these five steps.

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When employees at CenturyLink raised enough money to buy 106,275 pounds of food and donated $271,900 for a children’s charity, their company’s foundation chipped in another $1 million to support their efforts. The combined contributions bought 7.7 million pounds of groceries.

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When a Best Buy store does well, the employees share in the spoils. Plus, at some of the stores, employees blow off steam by competing on video games and foosball tables in the break room.

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At the National Institutes of Health, blind employees are reaching out to sighted co-workers to teach them how to treat them during the workday.

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Locate plans that suit your workforce at finder.healthcare.gov. The site, run by the U.S. Depart­­ment of Health and Human Ser­­v­­ices, identifies health insurance carriers serving the small business market in your area.

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Executives at Compass Group believe their front-line employees make magic. In fact, the brass calls the housekeeping and facilities management firm’s hourly employees “GEMs,” which stands for “Great Employees Make Magic.”

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This year’s merit increases will hover around 3%, according to a survey of 270 large multinational companies by compensation consulting firm Empsight Inter­na­tional. Say farewell to across-the-board pay hikes and years-of-service bumps. Instead, look for renewed emphasis on raises linked to meeting or beating organizational goals. Here are the compensation trends to watch in 2013.

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