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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Under interim final regulations for the Affordable Care Act that were issued last year, grandfathered group health plans—those in place on March 23, 2010, when the law was enacted—don’t have to comply with substantial portions of the health care reform law. But there’s a catch: Those plans are limited in the changes they can make.

The Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay women and men equally for substantially equal work. Gender can’t be a salary factor. That doesn’t mean employers don’t have considerable flexibility when setting salaries. The fact is that dozens of reasons that have nothing to do with the applicant’s sex may jus­tify different pay scales.

The Supreme Court of Texas has ruled that an employer can’t seek dam­ages under a covenant-not-to-­compete if the underlying agreement doesn’t satisfy standards set out in Texas state law. That means all your efforts to protect the company from a former employee are wasted unless the agree­ment is rock solid.

No doubt, you already raised hourly pay for your minimum-wage employees. The new Florida rate took affect on June 1, 2011, and raised the minimum wage to $7.31 per hour. That’s just a few cents more than the federal rate of $7.25. But have you put up the new poster in a conspicuous place?

Some people will do anything to get out of work early, including lying about their child’s health. One employer did the smart thing and demanded proof when it became suspicious.
A federal judge has added two New Jersey women to a national class-­action lawsuit against defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The women claim they were put on slower career paths that provided fewer promotion possibilities and lower pay than men in comparable jobs.
Employees who fail to return to work after taking medical leave can’t claim unemployment benefits if there was a job available when they were medically cleared to work.
Q. We have an employee who has been off work for more than 10 months because of a workers’ comp-covered injury. We have no idea when she may possibly be able to return to work. Are we absolutely required under the law to give this employee her job back whenever she believes she is ready to return to work, no matter how long she has been out?

Pharmaceutical giant Astra Zeneca has agreed to settle a gender pay bias claim, and the consent decree that spells out the terms of the settlement could affect North Carolina women who work for the company. Under the settlement, 124 female pharmaceutical sales specialists will split $250,000.

Employers are now free under federal law to set the percentage of employee tips that can be placed in a tip pool. But Minnesota employers need to be aware of a crucial difference between federal and state laws.
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