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.

The first bill signed into law by President Obama significantly expands employers’ exposure for possible claims of discriminatory pay. It’s too soon to tell whether the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act represents the beginning of a new wave of pro-employee legislation. But in and of itself, the law represents a significant development of which careful employers need be aware.

Now that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is the law of the land, it may be time to revisit how you set starting and incumbent salaries. If you currently allow managers and supervisors flexibility on pay issues, consider reducing that discretion.

As the economic meltdown worsens, employees facing personal budget crises may go looking for their own financial bailouts—by tapping into 401(k) savings. They may turn to HR pros like you to learn how to take hardship withdrawals or borrow against their investments. There are good reasons to steer them away from treating their retirement nest eggs as rainy-day funds.

Back in 2005, the New Jersey Legislature enacted legislation raising the state’s minimum wage to a rate higher than the federal minimum wage. Now, with the federal minimum set to go up later this year, a state commission is advocating another boost in the state minimum wage.

A California appeals court has overturned a large punitive damages jury award in a case involving underpaid wages and missed meal and break periods. Had the court upheld the awards, employers would have had a whole new reason to lose sleep over inaccurate payroll records.

National Wholesale Liquidators will pay nine South Asian employees $255,000 for subjecting them to a hostile work environment based on their race, national origin and religion, as well as sexual harassment.

In these uncertain economic times, small business owners may think about outsourcing certain payroll duties to third-party service providers. Alert: The IRS is cautioning taxpayers about tax traps in this area. Outsourcing payroll duties doesn’t relieve your company of its obligations to make timely employment tax deposits.

Now may be a good time to review your employee handbook for potential big trouble. The problem: Because handbooks spell out policies that apply to many or all employees, they can be used to justify escalating a simple lawsuit into a class-action suit ...

A centerpiece of the recently enacted economic stimulus law — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) — is a nine-month, 65% COBRA subsidy for employees who are involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009, and who are otherwise eligible to elect COBRA coverage.

Oops! Wal-Mart’s paying the largest settlement ever for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations—a whopping $640 million! Even small employers can be liable for huge penalties if they violate the wage-and-hour law. That’s why HR Specialist’s upcoming Labor and Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium features a session titled “Wage & Hour Litigation Rages On—The 10 Most Common Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)." Meanwhile, here’s a primer on FLSA compliance.