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.

As the recession drags on, many employers have begun trimming compensation. If you plan to cut pay for exempt employees, do so with care. Handle it wrong, and you could run afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law governing wage-and-hour practices. The worst-case: Cutting pay and hours could turn exempt employees into nonexempt hourly workers.

The state legislature is considering a bill that would require all employers to provide up to 12 weeks of paid time off so employees can tend to very ill family members or take care of newborns or newly adopted children.

Q. One of my employees who recently quit has failed to pay back a personal charge he made on our corporate credit card. Can I simply deduct the amount of the charge from his last paycheck or withhold his final paycheck until he pays for the charge?

Exotic dancers at suburban Minneapolis’ King of Diamonds club pay the club a fee of $20 to $100 every night they work. King of Diamonds maintains the dancers are independent contractors and “pay for the pole” in order to earn tips. The club does not pay them an hourly wage. Attorney E. Michelle Drake sees things differently.

Q. We have some employees who are earning the maximum salary for their job classifications. Can we cut their pay if we feel they’re overpaid?

If you employ seasonal labor, import employees from other countries and make payroll deductions for their equipment and transportation, you may want to hire an expert in visas and seasonal labor. That’s what saved one employer from double damages and an extra year of liability.

The journal Chief Executive again rated its 20 best companies for leaders last year, with 3M shooting up to the top from 15th place the year before. One thing that may account for 3M’s rapid rise was a greater reliance on peer assessment.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was designed to ensure pay equity for women. It does a whole lot more than that! Learn how this landmark legislation affects all protected employee classes and could influence your employee benefits program.

Move over, Google. Microsoft grabs tech headlines this month by adding zippy new features to its Internet Explorer browser. Here are four cool tricks that will save time for you and your employees.

Workplace investigations sometimes open a can of worms. What if, for example, you find out that an employee complaining about sexual harassment had engaged in wrongdoing, too? Even if the wrongdoing is related to the underlying sexual harassment complaint, you can and should punish the employee for that.