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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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The Texas Workers' Compensation Commission recently adopted new rules to clarify the qualifications and functions of designated doctors and peer reviewers in the Texas workers' comp system ...

Q. I'm under the impression that our company is obligated to give employees all vacation accrued up to the time of their FMLA leave, but we're not obligated to let employees accrue vacation leave during their FMLA leave. Am I right? —B.K., Wisconsin

If you use independent contractors or have your employees sign any type of employment contract, make sure those agreements state that both parties agree to litigate any disputes in New Jersey. If the contract is silent on the issue—or, worse, says the lawsuit forum must be California or another inconvenient place—you may end up spending thousands of dollars on travel and lost time ...

Q. Our company manual doesn't address compensatory time off, but we have offered certain exempt managers an hour of comp time for every hour of overtime worked. Do we have to pay them for accrued comp time when we terminate them? In the past, we've paid comp time to some and not to others. Can we negotiate our own terms with each employee? —E.B., Oregon

This month's elections may see more states adopt minimum-wage increases as they tire of waiting for Congressional action. After the ballots are counted, more than half of the states could be sitting on minimum-wage levels above the federal $5.15 per-hour threshold ...

Q. This year our company may exceed 20 employees for the first time. Is it true that employers of 20 or more employees have to offer COBRA? Do part-time employees and independent contractors count toward that total? —M.K., Minnesota

No doubt, your managers and supervisors know not to ridicule someone's accent or way of speaking. But what if an employee's communication skills suffer on account of his other accent? Are you prohibited from mentioning that accent and recommending remedial help to better communications?

Q. One of our nonexempt employees was traveling with her boss to other company sites to conduct meetings. After one meeting, she and the boss went to dinner, which the company paid for. During the meal, the employee broke a crown on her front tooth, requiring emergency dental work. Would this fall under workers' compensation? —R.B., Alabama

Make sure you're complying with the state's new minimum wage, which increased $1 per hour on Oct. 1 to $7.15 per hour. (For full-time college students, you may pay as little as 85 percent of the minimum wage.) ...

Some of your organization’s employees may be eligible for a larger tax refund without knowing it. You can do them a huge favor (and earn some good will) by introducing them to those tax savings ...

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