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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Employers are working hard to rein in prescription drug spending, according to new research by Towers Watson.
Under a law that took effect in Jan­uary, piece-rate and commission-paid employees in California must receive at least the minimum wage. Piece-rate employees must also be paid at least the minimum wage for all time spent on tasks not specifically included in the piece rate.
The much-maligned “Cadillac tax” on high-value employer-provided health insurance plans has been delayed for two years after President Obama signed a massive budget bill in late December that funds the federal government for the coming year.

Traditionally, there are four possible ways to classify people who perform work. But two classifications—independent contractors and employees—cover most work. Except, some say, in the emerging sharing or “gig” economy. Now two economists at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, D.C., have proposed a new category: independent worker.

About a year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that under the Fair Labor Standards Act, time spent waiting for security checks after the end of a shift were not compensable minutes. California, however, has greater worker protections built into its version of the FLSA. That’s why a group of Apple store employees brought a suit over their own wait time at the end of their shifts, seeking compensation despite the Supreme Court decision.

Can you zero out the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide 95% of full-time employees—those who work at least 30 hours a week—with group health benefits by cutting their work hours, so that they’re no longer considered full-time employees? One employer that allegedly did so is now defending itself against a class action lawsuit.
Do you consider your commissioned salespeople independent contractors? If you pay them a draw, they may be employees for unemployment com­­pensation purposes.
Employees who quit generally aren’t entitled to unemployment compensation. Unless something occurred that would compel a reasonable worker quit, employees won’t get benefits.
There isn’t a worse sound than someone scraping ice off their windshield at 6:30 in the morning. You don’t have to make employees choose between taking a snow day and working, if you allow them to work from home. While you’re crafting a telecommuting policy, don’t forget the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Urban Outfitters and its subsidiaries Anthropologie and Free People face a lawsuit alleging the company’s call-in policy violates California labor law.
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