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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Sometimes, it makes financial sense for companies to engage workers as independent contractors rather than as employees. It can have advantages for workers, too. But whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor has nothing to do with the desires of the organization or the worker. Not even a written contract can make someone an independent contractor if that status isn’t legitimate.

Here’s a wage-and-hour problem that may trip up Minnesota employers: Employees who have to pay their own travel expenses may end up making less than minimum wage. Allowing this to happen when the expenses exceed $50 may also violate Minnesota’s prohibition on deducting more than that amount for employee expenses.

Have you audited the employee bulletin board in your break room or next to your time clock recently? Have you ever done so? A little time spent seeing what’s there—and what’s missing—will keep you in compliance with North Carolina and federal laws.

This summer, Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed a bill raising fines for employers that knowingly fail to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. The new law also sets higher penalties for employers that misrepresent employees as independent contractors.

Q. An employee who recently quit has not returned a company-owned laptop computer worth more than $1,000. Can we withhold the value of the computer from the employee’s last paycheck?

Several states peg the minimum wage to the cost of living. For decades, inflation has meant cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that delivered regular pay raises. But what's happening now that the cost of living has declined 1.3% so far this year?

Ten states tie increases in the minimum wages to the inflation rate: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Since the cost of living has actually declined this year, none of those states will see an increase in their minimum wages.

Sometimes, it pays to take the time and spend the money to have legal experts carefully review your proposed actions. That’s especially true if your company is changing the way it does business in a fundamental way and wants employees to sign off on changes that dramatically affect how they are paid or whether they remain employees.

If discrimination has always been a head-in-the-sand issue for you and your organization, it’s time to get serious about your policies and practices. Discrimination complaints of all types—race, sex, age, etc.—have skyrocketed in the past year as the economy has fallen. Here's how to avoid becoming one of the EEOC's targets.

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.

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