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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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Q. We employ sales and service reps who travel and service stores around the country. They work from their home offices, use their own cars and communicate with us via phone. We classify them as exempt. Is this correct? (Most reps are required to spend at least eight hours at each location. Some drive three hours or longer to get to each store. We encourage overnight stays under these circumstances.) —L.C., Oklahoma

The IRS issued a fact sheet this summer to remind employers to correctly classify workers as either independent contractors or employees. (IRS FS-2006-21) The main factor in making that decision: control ...

Most states have boosted their minimum wages above the federal $5.15 per hour. Now, several states are exploring the idea of giving employees another plus—paid sick leave ...

Q. Can the time spent on workers' comp leave be counted against family and medical leave? —D.H., Arizona

Texas law makes it illegal to fire an employee in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. But that doesn't mean employees are untouchable just because they're out on workers' comp. You can legally discharge injured workers under a reasonable absence-control policy that applies to all employees, regardless of how they were injured or became ill ...

Lame duck Gov. George Pataki intends to influence state government long after his term expires on Dec. 31. Since Jan. 1 of this year, he has appointed more than 300 people to positions on various state boards, commissions and authorities ...

Q. Our company allows employees to purchase products on an installment basis. When employees quit and haven't yet paid the full amount, can we deduct the remainder due from their last paycheck?—K.M., Pennsylvania

If your employees receive tips, be aware that only certain types of employees can participate in tip-pooling programs ...

Q. We are planning to change the pay of one employee from straight salary to a lower salary plus commission. How can we do this without violating wage law? —G.T., South Dakota

Q. An employee has not returned our calls or come to work at our hotel for over a week. She has a set of office keys and owes money for laundry. Can I hold her check until she returns the keys or pays for her laundry? Alternatively, can I deduct the cost of replacing the keys and laundry from her last paycheck? —I.C., Maryland

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