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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Pay raises for U.S. employees are expected to hold steady in 2016, according to a survey by the Towers Wat­­son HR consulting firm. Virtually all respondents (98%) said they plan to give employees raises next year, with an average salary increase of 3% for exempt professionals.

Employees who quit their jobs for “necessitous and compelling” reasons may still be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. Quitting because of medical problems sometimes qualifies. That’s why employers should consider offering accommodations if an employee says he needs to quit for medical reasons. An accommodation offer may mean there’s no “necessitous and compelling” reason to quit.

Why not hold onto what a skilled worker can give you as long as you can, rather than letting that knowledge walk out the door all at once?
Q. We received our first request for a same-sex spouse to be covered under our insurance. We’re fine doing this, as long as they are actually married. (We don’t cover domestic partners.) Can we ask for proof of marriage even if we don’t ask it from opposite-sex spouses? I’d like to create a policy that says if your last name is different than your spouse you wish to cover, we need proof of marriage. Is that legal? 
The Court of Appeal of California has ruled in a case testing the limits of calling workers independent contractors. Employers should review their independent contractor arrangements to make sure they meet California requirements.
Almost two-thirds of employers surveyed offer individual performance-based incentives, but it’s not the most common kind of variable pay.
Q. We have to reduce salary wages by 20%. The plan is to reduce three of the five departments to 32 hours and adjust their wages accordingly. Is this legal?
State Sen. Daylin Lynch, whose district straddles Montgomery and Delaware counties, has introduced legislation that would raise the Pennsylvania minimum wage to $15.

An amendment to California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 requires employers to offer employees three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave per year. The original law required employers to provide at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, or to provide an up-front allocation of at least 24 hours. The accrual requirement created a big headache, since most employers do not accrue paid time off on a per-hour basis.

Employers have the right to expect their employees will generally show up for and leave work as scheduled. Workers who, without a good reason, are frequently late or leave early aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation if they’re fired. Those absences, even if largely unintentional, are misconduct.