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 have medical providers at our clinic who are paid straight commission based on the number of patients treated and the treatment cost. Sometimes, they block time out of their schedules to attend training on laser techniques or continuing medical training for their licenses. I know that most employees must be paid for training time, but this is different. Do we have to pay them?

Congratulations! You’ve cleared the first wellness hurdle: Executives have finally agreed to implement a wellness program. But now they’re asking for hard evidence that the company’s financial investment in the program will pay off. If measuring your program’s ROI seems akin to scaling Mount Everest, take comfort in the fact that more and more employers are successfully making the climb.

The total number of people who worked from home or another remote location for an entire day at least once a month has declined for the first time since the non­profit WorldatWork began measuring telework in 2003. The pull-back from telework reflects a psychological shift driven by the anemic economy, according to authors of a WorldatWork report.

Work/life issues are no longer women’s domain. Surveys by the Boston College Cen­ter for Work & Family and World­at­Work agree that men are struggling to balance the need to both care for their families and work to support them. Here are 11 recommendations from the surveys’ authors:

The Society for Human Resource Management reports that 59% of employees miss work at some point during the year because child- or elder-care arrangements fall through. Home improvement retailer Home Depot has decided to tackle the problem for its employees by providing a backup dependent-care benefit.
Q. One of our executives will be making day trips once a week to Boston from Philadelphia for a special assignment. Do we have to compensate the secretary (she is nonexempt) for her travel time to and from Boston?

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.

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?
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