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. One of our employees was hurt while driving in a company car on her morning commute to work. Would this be considered a workers' compensation claim? —K.S., Michigan

Gov. Rendell signed legislation last month that increases Pennsylvania's minimum wage by $2 per hour phased in over the next two years, but smaller businesses will have more time before having to pay the higher rates ...

Q. Our company doesn't have a policy on night shifts, but we've asked one of our hourly employees to work from 1 to 9 p.m. without any supervision. If something should happen to the employee while on night duty, are we liable for it? I've checked with my state labor department and workers' comp office, and they say we're not. —L.R., Florida

Q. We plan on hiring a college intern this year. Do we have to pay that person? —L.M., New York

Employers who rely on the expertise of foreign scientists, engineers and nurses would be wise to review the processes they use to recruit and pay employees under H-1B visas. The EEOC has taken a keen interest in whether promises made to induce foreign talent into the United States are being honored. And more visa holders are hiring lawyers and suing for broken promises ...

Figuring out who should be classified as exempt or hourly is undoubtedly one of the hardest parts of an HR professional’s job. Get it wrong, and your organization may owe thousands in back pay and penalties ...

Q. Do workers' compensation laws apply if an employee is injured while working in his own home and using his own equipment? —S.S., Maryland

If your organization contracts out security services, the Texas Supreme Court has just handed you a substantial victory that makes it less likely you'll be liable if your independent-contractor security guard injures someone ...

New York employers now have more incentive to move workers' compensation cases along quicker if the case includes accusations that the employer retaliated against employees who filed a work-related injury claim ...

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

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