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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Q. We operate a fitness club and employ many fitness class instructors. They have time between classes that ranges from 15 minutes to several hours. They are free to spend that time anyway they want, on or off premises. Do we have to pay them for the time between classes?
While salary budgets are up this year—merit raises are running near 3.0% compared with 2.7% in 2010—some still-skittish employers are more likely to dole out title raises rather than extra cash. The danger: Organizations may give gratuitous no-pay promotions instead of using the practice as a selective ­reward and retention strategy.
For the first time since 1980, the rate of U.S. inflation (3.2% for the 12 months ending in April) is running higher than the average salary budget increase (2.8% average salary budget increase in 2011).

Pregnant employees of Verizon Wire­less can keep in shape with Pilates for Pregnancy classes and nutrition seminars. They also can participate in online physician seminars throughout their pregnancies. The perks are part of the organization’s wellness program.

Q. One of our employees ran an errand for us to pick up $700 in cash. He says he lost it. Can we make him pay it back?
In what could be the start of a national trend, Connecticut lawmakers OK’d a new law that requires employers with 50 or more workers in Connecticut to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to their “service workers.”

Issue: Maintaining personnel files is a chore, but it's the most important element in defending lawsuits and regulatory claims. Risk: Failing to organize your files correctly exposes you to civil ...

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

Q. We have received résumés from many college students looking for unpaid positions this fall. Would we need to pay these interns?
Employees who believe they haven’t been properly paid for the time they spend getting into and out of protective gear are engaging lawyers and filing class-action lawsuits.
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