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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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A class of 750 bartenders, waiters and security guards who worked for the now-defunct Drink and Spin nightclubs in Minneapolis has won a wage lawsuit that made it all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
More than half of those earning less than $35,000 per year worry that a poor economy will cost them their jobs, according to a Washington Post poll. Better-paid workers aren’t as concerned.
Q. Our hourly employees have a paid 30-minute lunch break. Sometimes we ask them to do some work during that time. Is this OK since we pay them or are we required to provide them with a complete break?
California has two new laws affecting employers in the state. The first, signed into law in Au­­gust, applies to employers that prevail in wage-related lawsuits. It limits their ability to obtain attorneys’ fee awards. The second, signed in September, raises California’s minimum wage to $10 per hour by January 2016.
A few years back, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that chicken processing employees had to be paid for time spent putting on and taking off special protective clothing before and after their shifts. Since then, numerous lawsuits have challenged “donning and doffing” pay practices. Now, the 8th Circuit Court of Ap­peals has provided a bit of clarification.

President Obama on Dec. 4 voiced his support for a Senate bill that would increase the national minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. House Republicans oppose it, so the measure is unlikely to pass between now and the 2014 elections. However, half of Americans already live in states and locales with higher minimum wages than the federal rate of $7.25.

Q. We operate several restaurants and have issues with customers who walk out without paying. We expect our ­servers to help prevent this and want to implement a program that makes servers responsible for these losses. May we deduct the amount of the shortage from employees’ gratuities instead of their wages?
Workers have reason for holiday cheer this season as employers continue to give back to employees with year-end perks. Here’s how employers are recognizing employees this holiday season:
Here’s a reminder that Minnesota law prohibits employers from forcing waiters in traditional restaurant environments to share their tips with bartenders and other support staff. It doesn’t matter what you call those who play a supporting role, either.

Mattel employees who want to attend their children’s soccer games and school plays can take 16 hours of paid time off each year to do it. Full-time employees may participate in their children’s school activities or volunteer at school events that don’t involve their own kids.

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