Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits topics – whether it’s minimum wage, workers’ compensation laws, or employee pay – if properly handled, can help you retain workers and recruit new ones.

Use our advice to craft independent contractor agreements that keep independent contractors – and your bosses – happy.

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You may have heard that the Department of Labor has been focusing some of its enforcement efforts on low-wage service industries, particularly restaurants and fast- food outlets. That’s true. But federal courts are also stepping in to ensure that low-wage employees get every penny they are entitled to. That’s what recently happened when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a tip-pooling case that the employee who makes coffee in the back (the barista) should not be participating in the restaurant’s tip pool.

Phased implementation of the ACA has kept employers busy over the past few years. Here's your cheat sheet and some tips for what’s ahead.
Money left for workers in places where tipping is typical becomes the property of the workers for which the money is intended. If employees tell you that the money is disappearing and that a supervisor is responsible, check out the allegations.

Ordinarily, owners of a business aren’t required to participate in the unemployment compensation system and don’t need to pay unemployment tax. Neither are they eligible for unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to simply create a partnership, have each “partner” contribute a token amount, and then treat them as employees.

For many employers, their most direct contact with the Afford­­able Care Act arrives this winter. Employ­­ers with 50 or more full-time-equivalent workers in 2015 must report to the IRS their offer of minimum essential and affordable health insurance to employees. Here are the details.
Q: “I work with a property management company who hires current tenants to work around the property, cleaning or doing outside work. They are currently compensated with a monthly rent credit. They put in as many hours as is necessary to get the job done, which could put them over 40 hours in a week. They sign a contract with the company to do this. Are there any issues with doing this? Should they be hired on and paid as an employee?” – Susan, Michigan
Employers that want to limit payouts for accrued vacation pay on discharge should make it clear that this will happen. Include the limitation in the employee handbook and make sure employees know the limitation is there by getting their acknowledgment that they read and understood the handbook.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has nixed a firefighter’s claim that he should be paid for the time it takes to get to his station and retrieve his firefighting gear before reporting to a different station.
For the most part, the annual caps on 401(k) and other defined contribution retirement plans for defined benefit pension plans will stay the same from 2015 to 2016.
Applicants and current employees agree on the three top factors that make them say “No thanks, bye-bye” to a job.
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