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.
Q. Can our company require an independent contractor to wear a specific uniform? And can we stipulate that the contractor buy the uniform through us?
Some temporary agencies and employee-leasing firms sell their clients on the idea that temp workers won’t be employees of the client. Instead, they will be either independent contractors or employees of the temp agency. Those claims may not hold up in court, because North Carolina has strict tests for who is an employee and who isn’t.
Q. One of our hourly employees ($15 per hour) arrives late way too often. We’d like her to get here on time so we’re considering cutting her hourly rate when she arrives late. For example, if she arrives an hour late, we would not pay her for the hour and cut her pay to minimum wage for the rest of the day. Can we do that?
If you're responsible for approving time sheets or signing off on alterations to the hours reported by employees, take note: It's not just your organization that risks a big fine and costly litigation. Your personal assets are also at risk, as a new court ruling shows.
Managers and HR pros can’t empower employees, but they can create an environment that motivates them to want to act in an empowered way. Here is a 10-step model for encouraging and motivating employees. It will help them build the confidence they need to empower themselves to make decisions and take risks:
While Congress ponders the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act, several states are studying ways to target employers that misclassify their employees as independent contractors. New York is part of a joint task force studying the misclassification problem.
For employers and job-seekers alike, unpaid internships seem like an attractive option. But internships come with risks. Before you begin taking on interns, do a thoughtful and careful analysis to make sure state and federal law allows you to classify an individual as an unpaid intern rather than a paid employee.
Q. Let’s say I do the payroll for a company and know that we are misclassifying employees (exempt vs. nonexempt; independent contractors vs. employees). And let’s say I advised the owner, but he chose to leave it as is. Could I be held liable as the payroll administrator?
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is stepping up efforts to encourage and support certain types of wage-loss claims by low-income workers. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced this spring that the department was rolling out its “We Can Help” campaign to address this issue. If you employ relatively low-wage workers, you need to be aware of this program.
If you use independent contractors, make sure they have the freedom to work for other clients and largely set their own schedules. Those criteria are important for determining whether someone is an “employee” and, thus, eligible for unemployment.