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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During these difficult economic times, small and midsize businesses are looking for ways to reduce their employment costs—while maintaining employee benefits and gaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Many employers are looking at alternative staffing models to meet those objectives.

’Tis the season for employees to be stressed and distracted by online shopping, post-party hangovers, visiting relatives, end-of-year deadlines, money woes and sugar-induced belly­aches. Here’s what to watch out for when the holidays are just around the corner.

The IRS says employer-provided cell phones are no longer a taxable fringe benefit. That means em­­­­ployees don’t have to pay federal income tax on any personal use of their phones—and you can quit keeping track of ­personal-use minutes for payroll purposes.
Employers can regulate what employees do away from work—but only within narrow limits. There are often good reasons to. Some off-duty acts reflect poorly on employers, raise insurance costs and create conflicts of interest. Here's how to make the call.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the sweeping federal health-care reform law enacted in 2010, deciding the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s signature domestic policy achievement. No matter how the High Court rules, its decision could affect HR and employee benefits for years to come.
For plan years beginning Sept. 23, 2011, unless the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants a waiver, group health plans that impose annual or lifetime limits on the dollar value of essential benefits are restricted to imposing an annual limit of $1.25 million.
Butler County may have to pony up more than $100,000 to settle claims it discriminated against a small group of female county employees, all over age 40, who were forced to take pay cuts last year.

Employees who receive workers’ compensation payments for on-the-job injuries are assumed to have retired when they hit age 67. But a recent lawsuit argued that workers’ comp payments had to continue past that cutoff age because an employer had negotiated a legal settlement that didn’t specify that the payments would end at age 67. Fortunately, the Supreme Court of Minnesota has ruled otherwise.

The EEOC and the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) have settled claims that the company denied benefits and locked out disabled workers before a plant shutdown in Fremont.
Former Texas Southern University women’s basketball coach Surina Dixon has won $730,000 in a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit she filed after being fired in 2008, shortly after she was hired.
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