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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Employers that need seasonal employees often rely on foreign workers to fill those slots. Workers from other nations must apply for an H-2B visa before coming to the United States to work. Until now, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals had not yet decided whether expenses related to H-2B workers’ travel to the United States had to be reimbursed by the employer. It has now decided that they do not.

Contract truck drivers in Charleston, W.Va., are suing CSX Transportation after accusing the railroad company of paying them less than minimum wage.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just turn your employees into independent contractors? That way, you wouldn’t have to pay unemployment compensation taxes, provide workers’ compensation insurance and so on. But California courts are quick to zap employers that wrongly convert employees into contractors.

Q. We’ve started requiring employees to repay (through payroll deduction) training costs if they quit or are fired within one year. Are we OK legally?

The U.S. Department of Labor has cited nine blueberry farms and 17 labor contractors for violations of child labor laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). The farms and contractors operated in Bladen and Craven counties.

A recent federal court decision means you’ll now have to go the extra mile to prove that your worker is an independent contractor, not an employee. Advice: Take steps to document exactly why you believe someone is an independent contractor when you begin using his or her services.

Dr. Walter Broadnax, owner of Cincinnati’s Pain Group, will serve five years’ probation and pay $56,246 in restitution to the state Bureau of Workers Compensation.

The FLSA requires employers to pay the minimum wage and the correct amount of any overtime. Violate the law and you’ll have to pay double what you owe—unless you can show you acted in good faith and with the reasonable belief that you were following the law. That’s a tough sell unless you can show you followed legal advice.

Q. Our company is hiring temporary workers for a big upcoming job. Do we have to treat them as employees?

As with many other federal employment laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act includes a retaliation provision that protects workers who complain that their employer has violated the law. Until recently, it wasn’t clear what kinds of complaints actually triggered the FLSA’s protections. That’s now changed.