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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According to a recent working-conditions survey, many employers are not doing the routine maintenance they should to keep their labor and employment compliance in tip-top shape. There’s no guarantee that tuning up your workplace policies like you do your car will avoid lawsuits. But, some routine preventive maintenance will go a long way to ensuring better compliance and fewer problems.

Unlike employees, independent contractors can’t sue under Title VII for alleged discrimination. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have legal options if they believe they’ve suffered race discrimination. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has just concluded that an old Civil War-era law still outlaws discrimination in contracting.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently announced that MT Supermarket, an Austin grocery store, has paid $186,624 in back wages to 34 workers. The payment comes after an investigation of the Asian grocery store found violations of the FLSA.

Q. What is the Illinois Employee Classification Act? I’m not sure if it applies to my company.

The GAO recently released a detailed report with a set of recommendations to address the persistent, widespread problem of employer misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The report urges the DOL and the IRS to step up enforcement efforts, so now's a particularly opportune time for employers that have classified any workers as independent contractors to carefully review those decisions.

The holiday spirit is spreading! A new survey shows that more than 83% of employers are planning year-end holiday parties this year, up from 68% in 2011. But for us worrywarts in HR, all that good cheer means more fretting about alcohol-fueled liability. Here are 12 tips for making spirits bright without having to call a lawyer — plus a rundown of the 10 worst workplace party fouls.

A controversial study of employment practices in the New York City region, Chicago and Los Angeles has found that employers routinely stiff low-paid workers, breaking wage-and-hour laws and illegally thwarting union organizing efforts.

Q. We employ a husband/wife team to clean our office. We pay them on a monthly contract basis and provide a Form 1099 at year-end. Would we be liable for an injury they might suffer while cleaning?

Sometimes it seems like supervisors and employees work in entirely different places. For years, researchers have known that bosses and line workers have widely varying views about things like priorities, performance ratings, communication and benefits. Here are eight areas for which recent studies have revealed major disconnects between what employees want and what their bosses think they want:

If H1N1 flu threatens to shut down businesses nationwide, employers are going to need contingency plans to make sure they keep running. Flexible work schedules, temporary shutdowns and telework can all help—but all have unexpected wage-and-hour implications. Here’s guidance from the Department of Labor on how to handle these tricky issues.