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. We allow our employees to “borrow” unearned vacation time. Our policy provides that if employees quit or are terminated with a “negative” vacation balance, the amount that they owe us for the vacation time taken before it was earned will be deducted from their final pay. Can we do this? ...

Q. My work hours fluctuate a lot depending upon the flow of work. To help manage its cash flow, my employer asked me to sign an agreement where I would receive a set salary each workweek regardless of the number of hours I work. In weeks where I work more than 40 hours, I am paid half-time for overtime hours, instead of time and a half. Can my employer do this? My position is nonexempt ...

A worker walks into your HR office and makes allegations of harassment and a hostile work environment under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. You check the personnel file and realize that she actually is an independent contractor who provides services to your company. You’re off the hook, right? Not necessarily, according to the New Jersey Appellate Division ...

A group of fired Thai workers have settled an unpaid-wages lawsuit with Creekside Mushrooms of Worthington. The mushroom grower will pay $17,376 in back wages to four workers ...

The owner of several Sonoma County McDonald’s restaurants has agreed to pay $1,155,407 to settle wage-and-hour claims brought by its workers. A class of approximately 1,000 workers claimed that DCT Inc. and Mendes Family Enterprises Inc. denied them overtime pay and breaks ...

Here’s a trap that may catch you unaware unless you regularly compare jobs and who actually holds the positions. If two jobs are roughly comparable, but mostly women hold one of the jobs and mostly men hold the other and you pay one more than the other, you are asking for trouble ...

Employees are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Independent contractors are not. That difference can save companies hundreds of thousands of dollars on their labor budgets—but only if they really are using independent contractors. But if those “independent contractors” are actually employees, they can sue for unpaid wages and overtime ...

Q. We fired an employee for destroying company property. The manager wants to deduct the value of the damaged property ($2,500) from the employee’s final paycheck (approximately $2,700). I don’t think we can take so much from the employee’s final paycheck ...

When it comes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), unpaid overtime claims are perhaps the most feared charges. It’s important to have solid records showing the hours worked, even for exempt employees. If it turns out the employee should have been classified as nonexempt, you’ll have to provide compelling evidence of the hours the employee actually worked ...

The following sample policy was excerpted from The Book of Company Policies, published by HR Specialist, © 2007. Edit for your organization’s purposes. _____________________________ Purpose: “All employees have the right to work in an environment free from physical violence, threats and intimidation. The Company’s position is that violence is a form of serious misconduct that [...]