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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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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 ...

Gov. Jon Corzine recently signed a bill that limits the amount of money that temporary service agencies can withhold from temps’ paychecks ...

Q. We require employees to wear uniforms. Can we deduct from their paychecks the money to pay for the uniform or clean it? —L.B., Massachusetts

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), Division of Workers' Compensation, recently changed its complaint resolution process by going paperless. To improve its response time to complaints, the workers' comp office will begin using an automated workflow system ...

Q. Is it legal for us to strongly encourage our employees to have money withheld from their paychecks to support a charity drive, like the United Way? —L.M., Texas

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