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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A California appeals court has overturned a large punitive damages jury award in a case involving underpaid wages and missed meal and break periods. Had the court upheld the awards, employers would have had a whole new reason to lose sleep over inaccurate payroll records.

In these uncertain economic times, small business owners may think about outsourcing certain payroll duties to third-party service providers. Alert: The IRS is cautioning taxpayers about tax traps in this area. Outsourcing payroll duties doesn’t relieve your company of its obligations to make timely employment tax deposits.

Now may be a good time to review your employee handbook for potential big trouble. The problem: Because handbooks spell out policies that apply to many or all employees, they can be used to justify escalating a simple lawsuit into a class-action suit ...

A centerpiece of the recently enacted economic stimulus law — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) — is a nine-month, 65% COBRA subsidy for employees who are involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009, and who are otherwise eligible to elect COBRA coverage.

Oops! Wal-Mart’s paying the largest settlement ever for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations—a whopping $640 million! Even small employers can be liable for huge penalties if they violate the wage-and-hour law. That’s why HR Specialist’s upcoming Labor and Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium features a session titled “Wage & Hour Litigation Rages On—The 10 Most Common Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)." Meanwhile, here’s a primer on FLSA compliance.

On Jan.1, the hourly minimum wage increased in 11 states. The federal minimum, currently $6.55 per hour, is scheduled to increase on July 24 to $7.25.

Watch out if you ever fine employees, force them to pay others to perform work they can’t finish or make them provide their own equipment. Those expenses may cause them to earn less than the minimum wage.

President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on Jan. 29, making it easier for women and others to sue for pay discrimination that may date back decades. Drafted in response to a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said employees had at most 300 days to file pay discrimination complaints, the new law counts each unfairly low paycheck as a fresh discriminatory act.

An employee is an employee, regardless of his or her right to be present in the United States and work here. Thus, even illegal immigrants who were hourly employees can sue for back pay if their employers didn’t pay at least minimum wage and overtime.

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), which went into effect January 1, 2009, significantly expanded the protections of the original Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to include more individuals with less severe impairments.
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