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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Summer is usually when employees who belong to the National Guard and military Reserves give their two weeks of duty to Uncle Sam. Some military-connected employees may be deployed for longer periods of time. Now is the time to prepare for their absence.
Q. I’ve heard that there are new Illinois Equal Pay Act regulations I have to follow. Does this affect my record-keeping?

The Court of Appeal of California has ruled that employers are only required to make meal and other breaks available to employees. They don’t have to force employees to take those breaks or eat a meal. Your only obligation: Make sure that no work is required to be performed during scheduled break time.

Some employers are apparently still clueless about their obligations to prevent, detect and remedy unlawful harassment.. Lawsuits continue to clog up the legal system as employees keep filing sexual harassment cases. Many of those cases revolve around what happens far from corporate headquarters.
A Houston-based grocery chain, Hong Kong Group Inc., has paid $2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging wage-and-hour violations that involved phony payroll records and attempts to coerce employees into returning pay they had already received.

Mama’s Pizzeria in Copiage will be serving up $780,000 in back pay and liquidated damages to its 40 employees to settle a federal lawsuit. An investigation by Wage and Hour officials found that many of Mama’s employees were forced to work 70 to 80 hours a week without receiving overtime pay.

This year is shaping up to be a tough one for organizations worried about employment law issues. So far, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided three big employment law cases—and every time, ruled in favor of employees. The latest expanded employer retaliation liability under the FLSA. But that’s not this year’s only press­ing wage-and-hour problem. Pay atten­tion to these other issues:

Do you try to cut labor costs by hiring independent contractors to do employees’ jobs? If so, consider this risk: Both employees and independent contractors who do the same or similar work could join together and sue over unpaid wages and overtime.
A new study by online content provider 24/7 Wall Street says the insurance/financial sector shows the biggest disparity in weekly earnings among males ($1,324 average) versus females ($872). The other industries showing the biggest pay gaps are:

The 28 employees of Anthony Wilder Design/Build, a remodeling firm in Cabin John, Md., act like they own the place. They don’t. But owners Anthony and Liz Wilder have given them full access to the company’s financial records. Result: Employees have an intimate understanding of the ultra-­competitive remodeling industry.

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