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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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Q. We’ve allowed employees to work from home on occasion and are considering making it an option for some positions. Does exempt/nonexempt status matter when it comes to employees working from home on a permanent basis?
Q. We had to close down our business because of the damage caused by a natural disaster. Are our employees entitled to unemployment benefits?
The city of Austin has settled a long-running labor dispute with its street, wastewater treatment, and parks and recreation workers represented by the United Auto Workers union. For three years, the two sides clashed over payday schedules, overtime and alleged salary structure inequities.
Q. When an employee fails to clock in or out properly, our payroll department withholds that day’s pay until the next pay period as a form of employee discipline. My understanding is that an employer can’t hold back portions of pay as punishment. Am I right?
This open enrollment season may prove to be the most challenging in years, thanks primarily to two converging forces: the Affordable Care Act and the fact that employees barely understand their health benefits anyway. You can burnish your reputation in the company by having answers to employees’ questions.
Twice a week, a group of ReadyTalk employees meets at the company’s on-site gym for yoga class. On occasion, staff members enjoy head-and-neck massages, acupuncture and visits from a chiropractor—right at the office.
Employers expect health benefit costs per employee will rise by 4.8% on average in 2014, based on early responses from an annual survey conducted by Mercer.
The New York City Council has passed the Earned Sick Time Act (ESTA), overriding Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto. The law will be phased in for private employers. Under ESTA, private-sector employers with 20 or more em­­ployees in New York City will be required to offer each employee at least 40 hours of paid sick leave per year beginning on April 1, 2014.
Q. We plan to lay off some of our employees and offer jobs to others in our facility in another state. We are also giving a select few of our employees the option to work from home. One of the employees to whom we gave this telecommuting option has declined it and requested severance instead. Are we obligated to pay him severance?
Bus manufacturer New Flyer has agreed to a new contract with unionized employees at its St. Cloud plant. The four-year agreement provides annual wage increases of 2.5% in the first two years, 2% in the third and 2.25% in the fourth year. The pact also freezes entry-level wages and increases the amount of time it takes new employees to max out on pay.
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